Food & Drink

Giuseppe González on Vodka, Crowds, and His Famous Trinidad Sour

Giuseppe Gonzalez
Courtesy of Giuseppe Gonzalez

Prior to his life behind the bar, Giuseppe González studied neurobiology at Cornell University. So, if he decides to cut you off, don’t even try to argue with his diagnosis -- the drinks have clearly gone to your head. González has ably tended bar in some of NYC’s most esteemed drinking dens, including Clover Club, Dutch Kills, and Flatiron Lounge. Earlier this year, he opened Suffolk Arms on the Lower East Side, one of the breakout boîtes of 2016. But he is perhaps best known as the inventor of the Trinidad Sour, a whiskey-based cocktail that comes loaded with an astonishing amount of bitters, yet somehow retains a sense of balance and drinkability. Despite all the other tantalizing drinks on his menu, González still serves a lot of them.

What spirit defined 2016 for you and why?
Vodka. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would open a world-class cocktail bar and a third of my menu would be vodka classics, I would have thought you were insane. It's been a positive experience.

What’s the craziest thing that happened in your bar this year?
Nothing too crazy. It still weirds me out when I see a line out the door of people waiting to get in. It's really humbling.

What drink are you ready to retire in 2017?
Nothing. I take the good with the bad. Guests are becoming more aware of great drinks and the number of bars has been growing steadily. I rarely get orders for the disco classics for example (but we will make them if asked). I will say that I am ready to make less Trinidad Sours this year. 

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Chris Shott is Thrillist's Senior New York Editor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.