Joseph Boroski is the beverage director of The 18th Room, an elegant, new speakeasy in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, hidden behind a faux coffee supply store.
Taking its name from the 18th Amendment that ushered in Prohibition, The 18th Room takes inspiration from the upscale speakeasies of the 1920s and 1930s. Boroski, who’s also a globetrotting mixologist, long-time bar consultant, and owner of two bars and a bar school in Asia, created The 18th Room’s cocktail program. The menu focuses on drinks tailored to individual guest tastes, crafted in ways that take sustainability to new heights.
Boroski strives to go beyond sustainability and zero waste with his “no-impact” approach. The 18th Room, in addition to using every part and piece of each ingredient to its utmost, the bar team converts one ingredient to another and another. Even packaging materials are reused, recycled, or upcycled.
For Boroski, every element of a beverage program shapes the entire whole. Even down to the basics, like stirring a cocktail. We asked him the proper way to stir a cocktail and if there is something most bartenders might be missing when it comes to dilution.
“I’ve been training bartenders for a dozen years, both as a consultant for venues around the world in over 30 countries and through my bartender school in Bangkok. From these trainings, one skill I repeatedly see lacking (even in some celebrated barkeeps) is the ability to stir a cocktail properly.
“One skill I repeatedly see lacking (even in some celebrated barkeeps) is the ability to stir a cocktail properly.”
“Stirring shouldn’t introduce any air or ice particles to a cocktail (shaking conversely should), but it should still chill the beverage down to near-freezing. Therefore, it’s important to move all ice together as if bonded in a smooth and brisk fashion to make the maximum amount of contact between ice and cocktail molecules.
“Do not twist the spoon with your fingertips. This is a common mistake that limits the speed at which the spoon can go around the inside of the mixing glass, and it prevents a much more fluid motion that keeps ice and air out of the drink. The spoon will spin on its own as a result of the width of the spoon itself combined with the light pressure against the inside of the glass.
“Never neglect the importance of the size and quality of the ice you use. A little preparation with ice yields incrementally better results.”