Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru™,” is one of the most premiere cocktail consultants and bartenders for restaurants and spirit companies. His signature cocktails can be seen and enjoyed in many of North America’s most upscale cocktail lounges and restaurants. With nearly 15 years experience in the hospitality industry, Jonathan shares his insights with the most influential publications from around the world, and contributes his unique talents to morning television shows and national radio. As the in-house mixologist for NBC’s “Weekend Today in New York,” Jonathan is able to “spread the good word…one cocktail at a time.”
Just as an Executive Chef may work their way up through the ranks “behind the line,” Jonathan has worked his way up from being a barback at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, to Owner and President of “The Cocktail Guru™,” a well-respected, full service beverage consulting firm. Jonathan was trained by cocktail luminaries Steve Olson, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, and Albert Trummer. Throughout the years, a style emerged – that of a career bartender interested in studying technique, cocktail history, fresh ingredients, and seasonality. His inspiration lies in unique ingredients and quality ensuring that every beverage program he creates remains consistent and thrives throughout the years.
In addition, Jonathan and his Cocktail Guru team offer bartender services for special events, mixology classes and demonstrations, and signature drink development for weddings and occasions. The Cocktail Guru’s sister site, Wedding Cocktail Design, was created specifically for that couple-to-be seeking a unique specialty cocktail for their wedding.
For the past eighteen years, Jeffrey Pogash has worked in the Communications Department at Moet Hennessy USA, the importer of luxury wines and spirits. He retired as Director of Communications on Sept. 1, 2011. During his tenure, Jeffrey’s responsibilities included garnering press for the entire Moet Hennessy portfolio of champagnes, wines, and spirits.
Prior to joining Moet Hennessy, Jeffrey spent seventeen years as the U.S. representative for the CIVA, the organization that works on behalf of all growers, shippers, and cooperatives in the region of Alsace, France. Before joining the CIVA, Jeffrey studied wine and wine tasting with Steven Spurrier and Jon Winroth at L’Academie du Vin in Paris, where he lived for three years. Upon his return to the United States, Jeffrey studied for his Master’s Degree in Philosophy at Rutgers University and was a freelance writer and copy editor for Vintage Magazine. In 1975, he wrote his first book, How To Read A Wine Label, A Dictionary of French and California Wines. Jeffrey’s most recent book, Bloody Mary , will be published in October 2011 by Thornwillow Press.
We are pleased to announce that Jeffrey has joined The Cocktail Guru™ team to lend his expertise in media relations, marketing, and brand management. He will be working directly with Jonathan and on independent projects.
As a boy who grew up on Long Island, Hal was stuck drinking Mudslides, Long Island Iced Teas and bad beer. Then he had his first real cocktail at the Flatiron Lounge while on a date. To this day, Hal doesn’t remember who the date was with, but remembers being in awe of the atmosphere and experience of cocktails. Over the years that followed, Hal slowly became obsessed with all things cocktails, moving from The Flatiron Lounge to PDT, Pegu Club and Death & Company until he started to become the guy leaving with recipes written on napkins. As time progressed he continued to geek out on all things cocktail-related and learned about the personalities and stories behind the bar.
Hal decided to take his obsession and love of cocktails a step further and began writing about cocktail lounges, reviewing spirits, and creating original cocktails on his blog, A Muddled Thought (www.amuddledthought.com). Since then, Hal has participated in several contests, worked several events and has become a very involved member of the NY Chapter of the USBG. Hal currently resides in New York City, prefers his cocktails to be a bit outside the box, and has been known to accept any cocktail challenge, including combining chartreuse and burnt marshmallows in a hotel room at 4am while attending Tales of the Cocktail.
Hal has been a member of The Cocktail Guru team since 2008.
Pamela “Wiz” Wiznitzer
Pamela Wiznitzer has a true passion and zest for the industry that is seen and tasted in every drink she serves and also transcends the bar. Since 2006, Pamela has been working throughout NYC and currently can be found s
haking things up at the award winning (World’s Best New Bar and Best Drink Menu) The Dead Rabbit down in the Financial District. She has earned honors from her industry peers such being selected as one of the 20 Diageo World Class 2012 Contestants, winning Bacardi Limited’s “Champions Drink Responsibly” Mocktail competition judged by #1 ranked tennis star Victoria Azarenka and most recently took second place in the national 2013 Auchentoshan Switch competition, 1st place in the 2014 National Restaurant Association’s “Star of the Bar” competition and 1st place in the 2013 Louis Royer “Show Me the Proof” competition.
She is an active member and serves as the President of the New York City chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. Pamela is committed to and believes in the continuation of her pursuit of knowledge and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Food Studies, with a concentration on spirits and alcohol, at NYU’s Steinhardt School. Additionally, she presents her research at seminars and conferences including topics such as Women and Whiskey and Safety, Laws and Legalities of being behind the bar. Pamela is a recent graduate of the rigorous Beverage Alcohol Resources 5 day program earning top honors by passing the course “Bar Ready.”
Pamela writes for various publications about the spirit and alcohol industry and works with sites such as Julibox.com as one of their cocktail experts. She has been featured in multiple publications including the recent cover of The Tasting Panel, Bar Business Magazine, The Village Voice, Zagat, CitySip.com, Glamour, The Forward, The Examiner, MetroNY, ABCNews.com, and Underground Eats as well as reccurring media appearances on the the Food Network, Vh1, NBC, LXTV, Fox & Friends and BetterTV.