The Curious Eleven with Johan Hagstrom

The Curious Eleven with Johan Hagstrom

From dive bars to swanky hotel bars and everything in between, Johan Hagstrom is as versatile as a Swiss army knife.

A seasoned mixologist, he got his start as a bartender about 15 years ago in Sweden. He now calls New York his home where he’s currently working at The Penrose.

The Penrose

What are the TOP 5 skills every bartender should have?

Multitasking, a good memory, be a team player, no ego, hospitable.

Which cocktail is the biggest pain in the ass to make, pardon our French?

I have to go with The Ramos Gin Fizz...

You can do a lot of things with pretty much everything if you just put your mind to it.

And which cocktail is served in your version of heaven?

I could probably drink a lot of Whiskey Smashes :).

Which drink or cocktail would you say is way underrated? (And a tricky followup: Which one is the most overrated?)

Underrated: Cameron's Kick. Overrated: Singapore Sling.

You come home, slide into something comfortable, and throw yourself on the couch. What's in your glass?

A Negroni, Martinez or a Boulevardier.

I could probably drink a lot of Whiskey Smashes :).

What are the five essential ingredients every booze lover should have in their home bar?

That is so individual if I only have to pick 5… Obviously the 5 ingredients you need to make as many of your favorite cocktails as possible. So for me, a Rye and/or Bourbon of some sort, a sweet vermouth, Campari, maraschino, and maybe green chartreuse.

Which booze is the most versatile?

Whiskey? Never thought of it. But I mean, you can do a lot of things with pretty much everything if you just put your mind to it.

Is there a favorite life hack you learned at your job?

Don’t assume you know who people really are. Don’t judge!

What's the craziest anecdote you're willing to share with us?

When a lady demanded that I visit her room so she could show me her exotic dance moves. She told me she had been applying all day for jobs but wasn’t hired and she didn’t understand why... HILARIOUS. Or when I had to come in and open the bar for a shoot with Anthony Bourdain just in case he would like a cocktail. He wanted a Beer, no glass lol. EASY money haha.

What are your passions outside the world of Spirits?

Veganism, riding my motorcycle, traveling, and exploring near and far.

Johan Hagstrom

What would you be doing if you weren't a bartender?

Probably be a manager or an agent of some sort. I find myself having the solutions for a lot of my friends and their businesses and I’m good at connecting people.

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself?

I see my YouTube channel taking off and with that my clothing brand. And I also see myself owning a “Home Bartending and Consulting” company.

A Genie tells you to pick someone to fix a drink for; dead or alive, real or fictional. Who would it be?

Kurt Cobain. I would do anything to talk to that man. He probably would just want a Beer but that’s ok. I would just like to get to know him.

We give our featured bartenders the option to highlight a cause that needs support in these tough times and Johan chose the The Penrose Staff Fund. You can help out by following this link. You can also follow Johan on Instagram, and check out his website here.

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