Fred Beebe, partner and beverage director of Post Haste in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has come a long way since owning a small restaurant on the Pitzer College campus called “The Shakedown Café” with his current business partner, Gabe Guerrero , and a group of friends.
Photos by Gab Bonhi
Beebe moved to Los Angeles after college and worked at an organic farm certification company while working at a juicer built as a cocktail bar for people abstaining from alcohol. Beebe stayed there for about a year, then returned to his hometown of New York and landed a position at Blue Hill Stone Barns and completed his front of house and restaurant management program.
Beebe began traveling around New York proper and ended up behind the bar at Momofuku Ssam Bar and was eventually promoted to head bartender there. His last job in New York was as head bartender at Sunday In Brooklyn, where he began experimenting with the local ideas that became the basis for Post Haste.
When asked what beginning bartenders should know if they want to reach professional status, Beebe explained that there should be a focus on the classics. “I think new bartenders should study classic cocktail families and learn how they work and how to modify them. These include the sour family (daisy, daiquiri, tendril, etc.)the Martini family/Spirit Forward (martini, Manhattan, Alaska)the shoemaker family (julep, smash, etc.)and what I call the family of four (Last word, paper plane, etc.). Understanding what makes these cocktails so great and how they work increases your ability to be creative.
If you combine this expertise with an ability to read guests and interact with them in a way that makes everyone have fun, then you have the makings of a true pro. According to Beebe, one trick of the trade that a bartender should definitely learn to improve their game is to stir and shake at the same time.
“Guests love the show, and it increases your speed and efficiency. Speaking of efficiency…learning to work neatly will make your job much easier and make you both faster and more efficient.
Some of Beebe’s best spirits and must-have ingredients currently include Seneca Drums Gin, Eda Rhyne Fernet, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye, Honey Ginger Syrup, Burnt Sugar Agrodolce, and Early Season Strawberries from North Carolina.
Beebe says bartenders should “remember that bartending is one of the oldest professions in the world and most of the great moments in history have involved a bartender in one way or another. Many Founding Fathers distilled or brewed their own alcoholic beverage, and George Washington paid a $17,000 bar tab two days before signing the Constitution. According to Beebe, having something for everyone and being interesting without being off-putting is the key to a successful beverage program. “Oh and having bartenders who can explain everything and are as happy serving shots as they are shaking and cooking.”
Beebe is very proud of his Pearnicillan, a version of penicillin that he learned to make at Momofuku Ssam Bar. It was a challenge to recreate a classic cocktail that usually contains all international ingredients and instead make it with all local ingredients.
- 3/4 oz Liberty Pole peated bourbon
- 3/4 oz MLH Forefathers single malt whiskey
- 1/2 ounce Mac’s Blended American Whiskey
- 1 1/2 oz ginger-honey syrup
- 1 oz smoked pear juice
- 1 ounce of yuzu super juice