What do you like to drink after a shift? “My go-to after a shift is Scotch. Currently, you’ll find me drinking something from Clynelish, Springbank or Craigellachie distilleries.”
What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “Simple Minds, ‘Alive and Kicking.’ Some may say Scotland hasn’t produced any good rock bands. I beg to differ, and this is an absolute tune.”
After all these years bartending and creating drinks, do you still enjoy going out to bars? “Absolutely. When you’re lucky enough to live in a city like New York, with so many great bars, it’s only right to make your way around them. Having moved here in January 2020, I feel I’ve made a good dent in visiting a variety of bars over the past 18 months.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “The Affinity Cocktail in the Bramble Bar in Edinburgh. They were way ahead of everyone else at the time and made me think about drinks (and service) in a different way.”
What book on cocktails or spirits is your go-to resource? “I like a lot of the older, historical cocktail books, but the book I find myself going back to time and time again is Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold.”
What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? “It’s hard to beat a Whisky Highball with fried chicken!”
What drink are you most proud of creating? “The Night Nurse, which is found in the 50 Years of NYC Bar Life section on our opening Hawksmoor NYC menu. The section pays tribute to classic cocktails that NYC has given to us over the past five decades. The Night Nurse is our re-worked version of the Penicillin and is made with beeswax-washed Dewar’s, smoky single malt, ginger, acid-adjusted honey and citrus oils. It’s then garnished with a spritz of Laphroiag.”
Is there one person (dead or alive) you’d like to make a cocktail for? “Anthony Bourdain, because I know he’d give it to me straight. And then I’d like to join him for a drink and hear some of the incredible stories he’d have.”
What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “That’s easy: a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “A good wine/bottle opener. I’d be lost without it.”
Adam Montgomerie is the bar manager of the New York outpost of London’s famed Hawksmoor restaurant.
Interview has been condensed and edited.