Bar Beat

Bartender Chat: Bryan Johnson of Sugarcane

When Bryan Johnson says he's bartended nearly everywhere in town, he means it. He started at Meteor and then worked his way through the city from Deco to Hue to Vintage and a dozen other places before finally ending up at Sugarcane. He says that Sugarcane is "me growing up as a bartender, maturing." He calls it his "catharsis for my artistic ability."

Bryan is one smart cookie, having obtained degrees in both chemistry and psychology. He puts both of these to use behind the bar. The psychology comes in handy when he's building relationships with customers. He likes to buy new customers a drink in order to invite them in and make them feel welcome. The chemistry skills ensure that each drink mixes perfectly and tastes delicious.

Bryan's favorite drink to make is a three-part shot named after the famous Scarface antihero, Antonio Montana. The first part is a blend of Midori and Blue Coat Gin (green for money), the second is Dulce Vida Reposado and tangerine juice (power), and the third part is organic silver rum, coconut simple syrup, coconut water, pineapple juice and pomegranate (respect). I feel drunk just writing about it. His current drink of choice, however is much simpler: Wild Turkey American Honey on the rocks.

When asked if he considers himself the king of the organic cocktail, he shakes his head and says that he's more like the Jolly Green Giant, a mythical creature who is ushering in a new era of fresh, organic cocktails. He wants to appeal to the sophisticated consumer who is more concerned with the quality of their beverage than simply getting hammered. But don't worry, you can drink fresh and still get smashed; you'll just feel better the next day.