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In this episode of Chef AF, our guest is Jonathan Pogash, founder, owner, and President of The Cocktail Guru. Pogash's venture is renowned as one of the nation's leading cocktail and full-service hospitality consultancies—a testament to his entrepreneurial drive and commitment to his craft.

Pogash's career began in an atmosphere steeped in wines and spirits, thanks to his father's career in the beverage industry. His first job was as a barista at a New Jersey restaurant, an early step that unexpectedly sowed the seeds for his future enterprise. However, Pogash's initial ambition was to make his mark in the theater. He pursued this dream, earning a degree in theater and moving to New York City for auditions. To support himself, he took on work in restaurants and bars, including a stint at the esteemed Russian Tea Room.

It was here in the bustling New York hospitality scene that Pogash's creativity found a new outlet. He launched The Cocktail Guru as a side project, a small idea that would eventually blossom into a full-blown operation.

In our conversation, Pogash revealed the significant role mentorship played in his career. His mentor, the late Gary Regan, equipped him with essential knowledge and allowed him to gain administrative experience—skills that later became instrumental in his work. He also credits the US Bartenders Guild for providing him with invaluable networking opportunities, which enabled him to form the core of his "guru team."

Pogash's consulting journey took a significant turn in 2007 when he was hired to assist in opening a new rooftop bar in midtown Manhattan. This comprehensive experience gave him invaluable insight into the process of opening a bar and laid the groundwork for his successful consulting services today. His client base now spans the country, reflecting the substantial growth and success of his brand.

Pogash underscored the importance of long-standing relationships with his clients, an integral part of his consulting practice. He believes in the importance of follow-ups to ensure the staff's proficiency and adherence to his designed cocktail programs, putting his reputation on the line for each project.

The Cocktail Guru's exciting journey into the realm of celebrity brand collaborations stands out. One of his earliest experiences involved working with Kenny Chesney to launch his rum brand, Blue Chair Bay Rum, about a decade ago. He vividly recalls creating cocktails and managing launch events, even serving drinks to Chesney and his friends at concerts—an experience that he describes as surreal.

Another standout moment for Pogash was his attendance at Access Live, a hospitality conference organized by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The event introduced him to various celebrity brands and the personalities behind them. He specifically appreciates celebrities who are genuinely involved in their brands, not just the names or the finances backing the venture. A memorable encounter was meeting Guy Fieri and discussing his tequila brand, Santos Tequila.

In addition to his consulting work, Pogash hosts The Cocktail Guru podcast alongside his father, Jeffrey Pogash. Launched in late 2021, the podcast has become a space for engaging conversations with industry influencers and mentors. The pandemic played a significant role in the podcast's creation as it provided an avenue for Pogash and his father to connect with each other and share their insights with a broader audience.

Pogash was tasked with creating a signature margarita for Alejandra's. The end product, Alejandra's Margarita a blend of hibiscus-infused tartness and the robust flavor of Codigo Rossa tequila, which is aged in Californian Cabernet wine barrels. Paired with a Mexican triple sec and garnished with black sea salt and a smoky rosemary sprig, this cocktail showcases Pogash's innovative and meticulous approach to his craft. His work underscores the importance of tailoring cocktail creations to complement the food and overall experience.

Today, as his client base expands from one-off consultations to ongoing collaborations, Pogash continues to leave his imprint on the hospitality industry. With exciting upcoming projects on the horizon, the future looks bright for Pogash and The Cocktail Guru.
In this episode of Chef AF, our guest is Jonathan Pogash, founder, owner, and President of The Cocktail Guru. Pogash's venture is renowned as one of the nation's leading cocktail and full-service hospitality consultancies—a testament to his entrepreneurial drive and commitment to his craft. Pogash's career began in an atmosphere steeped in wines and spirits, thanks to his father's career in the beverage industry. His first job was as a barista at a New Jersey restaurant, an early step that unexpectedly sowed the seeds for his future enterprise. However, Pogash's initial ambition was to make his mark in the theater. He pursued this dream, earning a degree in theater and moving to New York City for auditions. To support himself, he took on work in restaurants and bars, including a stint at the esteemed Russian Tea Room. It was here in the bustling New York hospitality scene that Pogash's creativity found a new outlet. He launched The Cocktail Guru as a side project, a small idea that would eventually blossom into a full-blown operation. In our conversation, Pogash revealed the significant role mentorship played in his career. His mentor, the late Gary Regan, equipped him with essential knowledge and allowed him to gain administrative experience—skills that later became instrumental in his work. He also credits the US Bartenders Guild for providing him with invaluable networking opportunities, which enabled him to form the core of his "guru team." Pogash's consulting journey took a significant turn in 2007 when he was hired to assist in opening a new rooftop bar in midtown Manhattan. This comprehensive experience gave him invaluable insight into the process of opening a bar and laid the groundwork for his successful consulting services today. His client base now spans the country, reflecting the substantial growth and success of his brand. Pogash underscored the importance of long-standing relationships with his clients, an integral part of his consulting practice. He believes in the importance of follow-ups to ensure the staff's proficiency and adherence to his designed cocktail programs, putting his reputation on the line for each project. The Cocktail Guru's exciting journey into the realm of celebrity brand collaborations stands out. One of his earliest experiences involved working with Kenny Chesney to launch his rum brand, Blue Chair Bay Rum, about a decade ago. He vividly recalls creating cocktails and managing launch events, even serving drinks to Chesney and his friends at concerts—an experience that he describes as surreal. Another standout moment for Pogash was his attendance at Access Live, a hospitality conference organized by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The event introduced him to various celebrity brands and the personalities behind them. He specifically appreciates celebrities who are genuinely involved in their brands, not just the names or the finances backing the venture. A memorable encounter was meeting Guy Fieri and discussing his tequila brand, Santos Tequila. In addition to his consulting work, Pogash hosts The Cocktail Guru podcast alongside his father, Jeffrey Pogash. Launched in late 2021, the podcast has become a space for engaging conversations with industry influencers and mentors. The pandemic played a significant role in the podcast's creation as it provided an avenue for Pogash and his father to connect with each other and share their insights with a broader audience. Pogash was tasked with creating a signature margarita for Alejandra's. The end product, Alejandra's Margarita a blend of hibiscus-infused tartness and the robust flavor of Codigo Rossa tequila, which is aged in Californian Cabernet wine barrels. Paired with a Mexican triple sec and garnished with black sea salt and a smoky rosemary sprig, this cocktail showcases Pogash's innovative and meticulous approach to his craft. His work underscores the importance of tailoring cocktail creations to complement the food and overall experience. Today, as his client base expands from one-off consultations to ongoing collaborations, Pogash continues to leave his imprint on the hospitality industry. With exciting upcoming projects on the horizon, the future looks bright for Pogash and The Cocktail Guru. read more read less

11 months ago #chef, #cocktail, #cocktail-recipe, #culinary, #food, #guru, #hospitality, #jonathan, #lisa, #pepe, #pogash, #recipe