Last updated on February 9th, 2015
All it took was one sip of a Sazerac and Josh Sullivan was hooked. Visiting New Orleans for photography work, the historic libation inspired Sullivan to launch Post Prohibition, a website and Baltimore-based private event consulting service dedicated to celebrating the craft of the cocktail.
With a trove of recipes for seasonal cocktails and infused mixers—and handcrafted bitters soon available for purchase—Post Prohibition aims to reinvent the bar scene, steering it away from artificially-flavored vodkas and back to quality custom cocktails.
Today, Sullivan shares his thirst for knowledge and his love of the history behind the craft in a Q&A. Later this December, he’s also generously agreed to share a holiday cocktail recipe with Good. Food. Stories. readers, so stay tuned.
What, in a nutshell, is Post Prohibition all about?
Post Prohibition is about classic cocktails prepared in the proper manner as well as inventive contemporary cocktails with bold spirits, liqueurs, homemade bitters, and brilliant techniques for our guests to enjoy.
We love nothing more than creating well-balanced, artistic cocktails with fresh seasonal ingredients. At first sip I think you’ll notice the thought, preparation and calculated execution that makes Post Prohibition cocktails and events so exceptional.
I want people to be able to duplicate this—to have the information and inspiration to make quality cocktails at home. That’s what our website is all about.
What has been the most well-received cocktail?
I think the staple classics should be offered at all times. I try and feature at least two classics on every event menu and would say that the Clover Leaf, Corpse Reviver #2, Vieux Carré, Hemingway Daiquiri, and Blood & Sand all are very well received. They call them classic for a reason: people love them. A lot of these classics also give me a great base for creating new contemporary cocktails.
Watch Josh make the Cucumberous:
What are people most excited about learning about?
When people sit at my bar, they want to learn about new spirits they haven’t tried or unique liqueurs/aperitifs they have never heard about. People will ask, “What’s Amaro?” or “What’s Lillet Blanc?” and I give them a taste and then they can understand how it works into the cocktail, get an understanding of the pieces to the puzzle.
People are always asking me questions at the bar about how I made a specific foam, simple syrup or infused spirit. It’s a great way for them to learn and get them excited at the same time.
What cocktail components are out on your counter right now? I want to know what you’re currently experimenting with.
When it comes to experimenting with cocktails, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are always a good source of inspiration. Beyond that:
- Clear Creek Distillery products such as Pear Brandy and Douglas Fir
- Dimmi Liquore di Milano
- Various mezcals
- Small batch spirits like Death’s Door Gin
- Italian aperitifs/liqueurs like Amaro
- And I seem to be sneaking Caol Ila scotch into cocktails a lot lately for its smokiness
One thing I’ll be getting into shortly is barrel aging cocktails in charred oak barrels. Right now I’m thinking I will age a Vieux Carré. Look for that article on Post Prohibition in the coming months.
In your esteemed opinion, what city—anywhere in the world—has the best bar scene? (Don’t worry, I’m not fishing for the answer to be New York or Baltimore.)
Well, I haven’t made it out west yet, so my answer is going to be a bit limited. It’s hard not to say New Orleans. With the amazing surrounding culture I could really see myself living there and being happy.
However, I’m going to have to say NYC because of my love for pizza. Give me a Neapolitan pizza and a well crafted cocktail and I’m in heaven. Bars like PDT, Death & Company and Angel’s Share will serve you a proper cocktail.