“It’s really just the classic story,” says Rico Wisner, Poste Moderne Brasserie’s bar supervisor, about how he ended up in his career. Wisner started bartending part-time at a country club while in college before realizing that making drinks was where the future lay for him. “I’ve been bartending for ten years,” says Wisner. “Only, back [in college] I was making crazy, glow-in-the-dark shots and drinks.”
The neon shots gave way to a more serious attitude toward cocktail making once Wisner picked up a job at McCormick & Schmick’s. There, he experimented with the drink menu, playing around with spirits and classic recipes. “I like to put my twist on classic cocktails so people can get to know them more,” he says.
A little more than two years ago, Wisner moved to Poste, where he currently oversees the drink program. “We tend to use fresh herbs from our chef’s garden,” he says about the Chinatown restaurant’s seasonal cocktail menu. “Our basil lemontini is a classic, and our new blueberry-and-golden-sage gin rickey usually takes people by surprise.” Other staple drinks worth a taste, according to Wisner, include the Sazer-Jack cocktail, a spin on the Sazerac using Jack Daniel’s, and the Chameleon, with herbal-tea-infused Bombay Sapphire mixed with elderflower liqueur and soda water.
The Mr. Know-It-All, one of Wisner’s favorite creations, combines cherry-infused Grand Marnier with blueberry-and golden-sage-infused gin. “I used to hate gin, but I’ve recently gotten into it,” he says, pointing out how the liquor neatly complements the rest of the elements in the cocktail: “The drink has all these ingredients with very different flavors, but then they all come together well.”
Watch our video of Wisner making a Mr. Know-It-All, and get the recipe so you can make the drink at home.
Rico Wisner, Poste Moderne Brasserie
1½ ounces Cherry-infused Grand Marnier
1½ ounces blueberry-and-golden-sage-infused Blue Coat Organic Gin
1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce agave nectar
¾ ounce Quady’s Batch 88 Starboard Dessert Wine (port style)
Cherry-infused Grand Marnier:
Place 20 halved fresh cherries in a 750-mililiter bottle of Grand Marnier. Depending on the potency of the cherries, it will need to be infused for about two weeks.
Blueberry-and-golden-sage infused Blue Coat Organic Gin:
Place two dozen blueberries and 10 golden-sage leaves in a 750-mililiter bottle of gin and infuse for three weeks.