Interview with Charity K. Johnston @Charitykjohnston
DESCRIBE YOUR DRINK-MAKING STYLE.
My drink style has been very self taught. I’ve always said my style is going into a kitchen, (restaurant, bar or home) grabbing a few items and really just playing with different flavors – herbs, spices, etc. that maybe you wouldn’t think would pair well together. I guess when I first started, I was really experimenting, and of course over time you become more refined. I think what it really taught me is that there are no rules. If you have too many restrictions and ideas of how cocktails need to be made, you may miss the opportunity to explore and try something new.
WHAT'S SOME ADVICE FOR MAKING DRINKS?
I guess sticking with what I said above. Explore trying flavors together that are unexpected – make mistakes! Read and do research. Understand how spirits are made and what they are made from. And taste everything!
WHAT'S SOME INSIDER KNOWLEDGE ON BARTENDING THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT?
Hmmmm. Well I’m sure there’s a lot. I’d just say bartending is not easy. You give a lot of yourself. You’re constantly on and trying to show people a good time. Which can be exhausting. It’s also physically exhausting. Late hours, long nights and days. There is so much that goes into it. Hats off to all the incredible bartenders out there, I truly don’t think most people realize how difficult it is.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TEQUILA AND THE MARGARITA?
The Margarita has always been my favorite cocktail. There’s many ways to make a Margarita, and also many ideas on who created the first Margarita. I do have an obsession with agave. All spirits are unique. But agave holds a special place in my heart. The thing I’ve always loved about tequila is the process and the people. These plants take years to grow, usually around six to seven years to mature, and after that, one agave plant depending on the size, only makes a few bottles, maybe five to seven liters. Obviously this is all dependent on the brand and size. But can you imagine each bottle of tequila is one of maybe six bottles from one plant? Also agave and water, those two ingredients are all you need to make incredible tequila. The agave plant is sweet and full of flavor naturally. I think that’s what I love about a Margarita, it’s simple, refreshing, and delicious!