Down East 2013 ©
Harvest on the Harbor , a three-day food festival with seminars, tastings, cooking demonstrations, and much more kicks off today (October 23) in Portland. For a complete schedule of events, and to purchase tickets, click here .
In preparation for the festivities, I chatted briefly with Portland’s own celebrity mixologist John Myers, who will be running a seminar on Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 at the Top of the East in the Eastland Park Hotel , with Joy of Mixology  author Gary Regan.
How long have you been bartending?
About fifteen years now.
How’d you get started?
That’s a question no bartender ever knows the answer to. My great grandparents started a saloon outside of Chicago. I remember being a kid and hanging out at family gatherings. I always loved watching the bartenders. Seemed like an easy and fun way to get through life.
Has it proved to be?
What’s the aspect you like most about the job?
It might be the people. As a student of the human animal, bartending is a pop quiz every day.
Any memorable stories come to mind?
Stacks of them. In Washington D.C. seeing men in power in their cups is a thing to behold.
What are your specialties? Do you have a favorite style of drink?
My favorite drinks are the boozy ones, the old schools: sazeracs, old fashioneds, manhattans, and their variations.
What are you experimenting with these days?
Bacon. It’s my favorite spice. It goes with really well with Bourbon. I’m trying to make it work with Applejack, it’s proving to be more difficult than I thought. Bacon should be a natural foil with rum, although I haven’t tried that yet.
How do you like Portland?
I’m an Army brat; I’ve always got one eye on the other side of the hill to see what’s going on. It has been a fun stop. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. But I like being here.
Currently a bartender at The Grill Room , Myers writes a monthly column in The Bollard  called The Land of Forgotten Cocktails . He is also on the Board of Advisors at the Museum of the American Cocktail . According to the Harvest on the Harbor website, “prepare yourself to be educated by the masters, as this session gives you the level of cocktail knowledge and expertise to make you a huge hit with your friends and your future cocktail parties legendary.” Cheers!