Mixology Spirit welcomes Larry Jansons from Newtown’s Lucas Local Oyster Bar & Woodfire Cookery. Larry is a seasoned mixologist who is passionate about crafting exceptional cocktails for his customers. As we chatted with him, he built us an amazing Smoked Manhattan, which was unbelievable for both its taste and presentation. We recognize that not everyone has a smoking gun at home to recreate this drink, so we encourage you to pay a visit to Lucas Local where Larry can you serve one in person. The restaurant offers an incredible selection of regionally selected ingredients with a focus on fresh, local seafood and is definitely worth the trip!
Batchers: Where do you work and what is your role?
Jansons: I am a bartender at Lucas Local in Newtown, CT. I’ve been here for a little over a year and have been in the bartending/restaurant field for 28 years!
Batchers: What do you love the most about bartending?
Jansons: What I love most about bartending is the fast-paced atmosphere, creating and mixing new cocktails, meeting new people, and seeing returning bar patrons whom are fun, relaxed and super friendly. What’s more exciting than having endless conversation with your customers while working?
Batchers: How has Lucas Local managed the COVID crisis?
Jansons: Like most establishments, it’s been a challenging time, but we’ve risen to the occasion. The team here worked really hard to ensure we were in full compliance with CDC guidelines for opening. We also installed plexiglass barriers at the bar in order to keep our bar area in use. The restaurant also pivoted earlier in the year and did a lot of takeout orders along with cocktails-to-go. I’m proud to work alongside great people who went above and beyond to keep this business running while keeping customers and staff safe.
Batchers: Since Lucas Local is a seafood restaurant, do you have a particular approach to pairing cocktails with your menu items?
Jansons: We try to build cocktails that don’t overpower the delicate flavor of the fish. We source local fresh ingredients in keeping with the local part of our name. We also collaborate frequently with the kitchen to offer cocktails that match the seasons and the chef’s menu changes.
Batchers: Got an interesting story about a really hard night behind the bar?
Jansons: It was a particularly busy rush of customers after we reopened inside-dining due to COVID. I was inundated with drink tickets and as I was completing an order and moving a rather large tin of Luxardo cherries, it slipped out of my hands and dropped to the floor. Just about everything spilled out and created a huge mess. Needless to say, I broke into a sweat right away and couldn’t clean it up immediately due to the rush. Trying to make cocktails and not slip or break my neck was a challenge. Alas, the cocktails were made, floor cleaned, all without issue.
Batchers: What is your favorite Litchfield Distillery spirit to work with?
Jansons: I like your Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It’s versatile and works well with mixers to create incredible tasting craft cocktails. We’ve been using it in our Whiskey Smash, which has been a very popular cocktail with our customers.
Batchers: What does the Spirit of Hard Work® mean to you?
Jansons: I’ve always had a strong work ethic. Show up on time, follow rules, treat others with respect, clean as I go, learn all that I can, try to improve on ways to speed up the drink-making process or how we do things on a daily basis. Work smarter, not harder is my mantra.
Larry’s featured cocktail is a Smoked Manhattan.
2.5 oz Litchfield Distillery Straight Bourbon
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients over ice and stir. Pour into small carafe and smoke cocktail with smoking gun. Garnish a coupe glass with a Luxardo cherry, pour smoked Manhattan into coupe.
Please follow Lucas Local online on Instagram and Facebook or stop by the restaurant located at 48 South Main Street, Newtown, CT. To learn more visit their Website or call 203-491-2992.
About Mixology Spirit:
Mixology Spirit is a Litchfield Distillery blog series dedicated to sharing the stories of creative and passionate mixologists who embody The Spirit Of Hard Work®. Think you got what it takes to be featured? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2020 Litchfield Distillery. Photography & Editing Credits: Tony Vengrove