From Absinthe to Mocktails: How Seth Freidus Has Been Changing the Boston Cocktail Game

Seth Freidus
Galdones Photography

When Michael Scelfo’s seafood outpost opened just before Labor Day, we were as excited about the bar program as we were about the crudo. Freidus, also bar manager at Alden & Harlow, made absinthe his signature spirit, and the resulting cocktails are a revelation, even to the Green Fairy-adverse. But every drink is a humdinger -- even the mocktails, for those teetotalers tired of Shirley Temples.

What currently excites you most about the Boston cocktail scene?

Seth Freidus: What really excites me right now is the number of talented bartenders running such a wide array of amazing establishments. Boston has a lot of very fun, and very different, bars to choose from right now.

What was your vision for the new Waypoint bar program?

Freidus: My vision was to create a cocktail menu that highlights fresh ingredients, and that represents and pairs well with coastal cuisine. There are many common threads throughout the food and drink menus at Waypoint, and both reflect classic New England and Mediterranean food and beverage.

What's your favorite drink on the menu right now?

Freidus: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, so I’d say it’s a tie between the Absinthe Cobbler (Absinthe Blanche, roasted apple & fennel, lemon, Amaro Montenegro) and the Estate Grown (Martinique Rhum, lime, house-toasted pistachio falernum, house hierbas, and herb oil).

What do you wish people better understood about absinthe?

Freidus: We have a strong focus on absinthe at Waypoint, with more than 20 varieties available. Michael loves the way that absinthe pairs with shellfish and seafood, and it’s a great aperitif and digestif. I wish more people understood how delicious absinthe is, and how approachable an absinthe drip is. When you add water and sugar to absinthe, you are creating a delicious, simple cocktail. The water opens up these amazing flavors while diluting the alcohol content. The sugar softens the edges, making the drink extremely quaffable.

Why the mocktail menu?

Freidus: We have mocktail lists at both Alden & Harlow and Waypoint because it’s important to us that guests who are not imbibing can have an equally great experience to those who do choose to drink.

What will you be drinking on December 31st?

Freidus: I will be drinking a Death in the Afternoon at midnight. It’s a simple cocktail with absinthe and sparkling wine.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 in the Boston bar scene?

Freidus: I'd love to continue to see more and more great bar programs opening up and continuing to draw people from all over the world to our amazing city.

Sign up here for our daily Boston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Hub has to offer.

Meaghan Agnew's home bartending game is weak, which is why her bar-hopping game is so strong. Track her drinking tra(va)ils on Twitter and Instagram at @meaghandeth.