Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Judd Smith (of Shreveport-based wine blog Beard and Barrel) will be contributing several 20×49.com posts profiling some of Shreveport-Bossier’s most innovative bartenders. This is part one in a three-part series of posts.
There are so many trades or vocations out there that take years of practice and study to master, that some people will look at and say: “I could do that.” One of those crafts of precision is bartending. I’m not talking about popping open beers or pouring shots of Jägermeister; I’m talking about the art of crafting cocktails while building relationships with customers.
There are some pretty incredible bartenders right here in Shreveport-Bossier. I had the privilege of talking with Nathaniel Loggins as he got his bar prepped and ready for a busy Friday night at 2John’s Steak and Seafood off of Airline Drive.
Nathaniel believes passionately that the menu should be a reflection of the season. As I write this post, 2John’s is featuring a variety of handcrafted, winter-inspired cocktails, including two barrel aged cocktails (an old fashioned and a margarita) as well as eggnog made daily from scratch.
The experience that changed Nathaniel’s mind about what bartending and cocktails could be happened to him while living in New Orleans. The craft cocktail craze hadn’t come about yet; it’s just the way New Orleans has always done it. As he watched the bartender at Café Mythque (which is now closed) build the flavors of his drink, the way a chef would in a kitchen, Nathaniel thought: “This is a craft.”
“You never know who you’re going to affect,” he said in reference to another experience that changed his personal outlook on wine. Nathaniel is a second level sommelier (a specially trained professional with a deep knowledge of wine and wine service). He has led classes for service industry workers and has helped multiple Shreveporters achieve their first level sommelier certification. If you dig wine over cocktails, he’s got you covered.
Nathaniel hopes that every customer who visits 2Johns will have a memorable experience that’ll make them want to return. 20×49.com readers looking to taste an example of Nathaniel’s expertise at work should try the crazy delicious barrel aged margarita from 2John’s Steak and Seafood.
Read more from Judd Smith at his blog, Beard & Barrel.