“When I first came to New Orleans, we were doing a lot of busking just to pass the time. That was in 2007. It was mostly for fun—we had jobs and stuff, but if we had the night off we’d go downtown and busk. And when I was in high school, we’d come here on St. Patrick’s Day, learn Irish tunes, and play around town. There was only one Irish bar in Gulfport [Mississippi, where I’m from] and they wouldn’t let us in because I was like 14 or 15. I moved to New Orleans the day after I graduated high school.
I wanted to play music. Mostly I play the drums, but I’ve played guitar in a couple of bands. I love the variety here. There’s rock, there’s blues… Buskers are amazing because they can fill the whole street. There is so much talent. I still busk every now and then, but I’d rather be the spectator. There’s this guy who follows you around and sings ‘My Girl,’ and then there’s the guy who only sings ‘Behind Blue Eyes’—really loud, and kind of metal. Even if you’re not a serious performer, following your passion or whatnot, the people who have fun—or at least are kind of crazy—and just do it, I like that stuff. I drink to buskers, to having fun wherever you go, even where you can’t get in to play. The audience is just as important; you’re in it together. Without an audience, you’re kind of just singing outside.
I’m calling this drink Voice of the Stageless. I like overly sentimental drink names. I always loved the Last Word. It just sounds romantic, like I should be drinking it alone at four in the morning, singing to myself.
I do my own infusions. We make our falernum in-house. That’s zest of eight limes, three ounces of ginger, two tablespoons of sliced almonds—toasted, and if I have time I smoke them a little bit—about 40 cloves, six ounces of rum, one eighth of a teaspoon of almond extract, and then you let that sit overnight and add some rich simple syrup. Strain it all out, and then you have falernum, which is a Trinidadian, tropical, herbal syrup. It’s the base for most tiki drinks and one of my favorite ingredients.
This morning, I was like, ‘Oh, forgot to shower! Forgot to do my hair.’ Didn’t really prepare for this, didn’t really prepare for anything, but I think that’s a testament to my style of bartending. Like busking, we roll and tumble.”