A culinary school graduate, Sother Teague began his career working in restaurant kitchens before becoming a research and technical chef for Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Following a stint as an educator at the New England Culinary Institute, he moved to New York, where he found himself behind the bar as a member of the opening team at Dave Arnold’s Booker and Dax.
Today, Teague works as beverage director at Amor y Amargo, where he’s developed a distinctive style of bartending that draws on his culinary education and deep understanding of flavors; notably, the bar, which is labeled a “bitters tasting room,” forgoes juices and syrups in favor of showcasing stirred drinks relying on exacting combinations of spirits, amari, vermouth and bitters. Most recently, he helped open New York’s first charity-focused bar, Coup, with Amor y Amargo senior barman Maxwell Green and restaurateur Ravi DeRossi.
So what does Teague do in his down time, when he’s not drinking, or drink-making? Here, Teague takes a stab at our Lookbook Questionnaire to share his strangest hobbies, his go-to hangover recovery regime and the best thing he’s ever drank.
Beverage director at Amor y Amargo. Partner at Coup. Founder of BATCH, a new app for spirits professionals and enthusiasts.
What do want to be when you grow up?
A sailor. I have a longing for the open sea.
Best thing you ever drank:
I hope it doesn’t sound cliché, but, as drinking is such a social activity, the drink itself has never been too important to me. That said, my friend Colin invited me to have a Dukes Martini in London. It was expertly made with Bombay Sapphire and house vermouth by the legendary Alessandro Palazzi. There were four of us there for the table-side service and the experience as a whole will be memorable for a lifetime.
Worst thing you ever drank:
Russel Dillon recently “birded” me a shot of tequila at Basik. That springs immediately to mind. You’ll have to ask him what this means.
First time you ever got drunk:
My boss at that time was lamenting that his girlfriend had gone to Russia with the Peace Corps. In a move of solidarity, he decided to only drink vodka in her absence, neat. I joined him and we got crazy drunk. Many times. He and I are still friends, and they’re now married with children.
If you had to listen to one album on loop for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Though I’m a punk rocker at heart, if it was the rest of my life, I’d go with The Essential Brubeck. It centers me.
What’s the weirdest hobby you currently have or have had?
I used to make soap using goat’s milk. I’m trying to resurrect it by creating a soap and shampoo infused with the herbal liqueurs of Chartreuse. I’m going to call them “ShowerTreuse.”
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
I wish I’d have known to be more diligent about entering people’s info into my contacts list. It’s so valuable to me now.
Weirdest cocktail experiment you’ve ever attempted:
I was on the opening team at Dave Arnold’s molecular bar, Booker and Dax, so that’d be a long list.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not eating, drinking or drink-making?
I have a weekly radio show on Heritage Radio Network called The SpeakEasy that I love. My cohost, Damon Boelte, and I get to interview our peers, our heroes and the legends in our field. We don’t get paid to do it—we do it because we love it.
Weirdest drink request you’ve ever gotten:
Frankly, nothing shocks me anymore. If you like it and I have it, I’ll make whatever you request.
Your favorite bar, and why:
Here in NYC? It’s Bar Goto. They quietly kill the game. Fucking ninjas.
Best meal you’ve ever had:
I was a chef for 12 years. I love dining. But, similar to my favorite drink answer above, it’s all about who you’re with. I take friends to a tiny spot in the Lower East Side called Le French Diner. The entirety of the kitchen is a six-burner range and a small grill located behind the ten-seat bar. The chalkboard menu changes often. Getting to sit so close to the person who’s lovingly preparing your meal is transportive. It’s this level of connection that makes one fall in love with food. I hope everyone has a place like this to go.
What’s your go-to drink in a cocktail bar?
Daiquiri. It’s a litmus. If you can’t wrangle three simple ingredients, maybe it isn’t a cocktail bar after all.
I’m a sucker for bubbly.
A crisp, cold, lawnmower beer and an Old Overholt rye, neat.
Your preferred hangover recovery regime:
Everyone I tell this to hates me: I’ve never suffered a hangover, never. I’ve looked it up, there’s a small percentage of people who metabolize in a different way. I do the crime but not the time.
The one thing you wish would disappear from drink lists forever:
The last text message you sent:
“Sorry we never ate together. I’ll just make us praline bacon back in NYC.”