- David Rangel
Joshua Brock, Sternewirth & The Old Main Assoc.
You can have all the technique in the world, but if you aren't good with people ... This, in a nutshell, is bearded Josh Brock's approach to cocktails. Brock, 33, is a fallen-away liberal arts major who started in the hospitality industry: steak houses, coffee shops, some pastry experience ... It was through a job at Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden with James Moore that he came to seriously know cocktails when Moore opened TBA. "I first learned the bar banter routine, then the cocktails," he says. Bartender-about-town Jonny Yumol was there at the time; "Josh is my protégé," he says. Brock calls Yumol "my irritable sensei." But irritation aside, he appreciates the discipline brought to bear in learning "proper technique, balance, grinding it in to make drinks consistent."
As 'tenders tend to do, Brock moved on, this time to Sternewirth at Hotel Emma. To his casual-vibe TBA resumé, he can now add high-volume experience — but he hopes to be shaking there only part-time in the future as the has just accepted an offer to work with Jeret Peña's Boulevardier Group "doing things I'm good at" such as developing a wine program. When given the chance to mix a favorite cocktail of his own, he admits that "gin is my first love," and he takes it back to the classic Martinez, a drink some think of as the precursor to the martini. His creative urges these days are also playing out with his wife, a pastry pro, and a fledgling business baking and delivering cookies. The cookies are also good.