With apologies to Charles Dickens, this is not about the best of bartenders and the worst of bartenders. It is about two fine bartenders my wife and I met earlier this month when we were in Hawaii.
The first is Charlie (aka Charles) at Monkeypod in the Ko Olina section of Oahu. Along with the fantastic food, Charlie was part of our great experience. He was dynamic, knew what he was doing, and even introduced us to two liquors (Averna and Ransom). Who knew that I would discover a Sicilian amaro and an aged Old Tom style gin in Hawaii?
The second is Brian at Roy's in Waikiki. Roy's has many locations in Hawaii and some on the mainland. The food and drinks have been excellent at every one to which I've been. In addition to making a great cocktail, Brian was more than happy to speak with us about recipes, tradecraft, etc. I learned a lot from him. Conversations like that are one reason why I love the world of cocktails.