With Labor Day weekend in our midst we’re sure cocktails are on your mind. What better way to show you Red Rooster than with an interview with Red Rooster’s own mixologist, Moses? Today on Seeing Red, we ask Moses a few questions to get a better look into the world of mixology and drinks.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Moses Laboy and I’m born and raised in New York City, in Spanish Harlem to be exact. Went to college at the University of Michigan and studied Political Science. I’ve been bartending for about 10, 11 years. I’ve probably been referred to as a mixologist for about five.
What is the difference between a mixologist and a bartender?
Well the difference is that you know, when I was slinging drinks, I was more of a beer and shot pourer while mixologist create cocktails and drink concepts. Mixologists use herbs, spices, and other ingredients like egg whites- you’re more of a creator of artisanal cocktails. You also pride yourself in being educated in classic cocktails and do a lot of background study on spirits and quality spirits.
What got you interested in bartending and mixology?
Well at first I started bartending because the money was good while I was in school; I was making more money than the average student. Then it just became a craft for me, I met people that really cared about the business and studied under them and really became proud in what I do, and here I am today.
What are some of your interests outside of Red Rooster?
I’m an avid golfer and I play tennis. I enjoy visiting my friends at their local bars and seeing what they’re up to and what they’re creating. I love getting tattoos! Currently I’m working on getting the seven deadly sins as a sleeve tattoo, right now I’ve got two- five more to go. I have a bar spoon tattoo on my forearm to represent what I do. A bar spoon is for stirring and whenever you don’t have juices in a cocktail, you want to stir your cocktail as opposed to shaking it so you don’t dilute the spirit.
I love the Fig & Pear Bourbon Negroni, it’s more of a bitter cocktail, I love bitter cocktails. It does have a bit of sweetness in it because of the Vermouth, but I think it’s the perfect marriage between boozy, sweetness, and bitterness- but it is sort of an acquired taste.
What’s your go-to drink?
It depends, if I’m heading to a bar after work, it’s normally a beer and a whiskey shot. If I’m going to check out friend’s bars, I’ll check out whatever looks interesting, but then I’ll just end up going back to whiskey and beer again. What I do stay away from is vodka, I don’t think it has much to offer. I like to call vodka the “tofu” of spirits- it doesn’t bring anything to the table as far as taste is concerned.
Stop by Red Rooster Harlem at night to check out Moses and his tats and be sure ask him to make you a hand-crafted cocktail. Who knows what crazy concoction he might come up with?
Photos: Cyndi Amaya