Q&A: Sam Treadway of backbar

Bar at Backbar

He may have exaggerated his bartending experience to land that first job at Cheers during college, but these days Sam Treadway’s resume speaks for itself. After stints in Minnesota and Washington State, Treadway returned to Boston to work at Eastern Standard, where he deepened his knowledge of cocktail history and found the opportunity to channel his creativity. When the owners of Journeyman asked Treadway to helm the speakeasy-style bar behind the dining room of the now-shuttered prix fixe restaurant, he jumped at the chance. Locals named him the city’s best bartender in a 2013 Boston Magazine poll, and the hordes continue to trek out to the hidden gem in Union Square to sample his concoctions.

Favorite Boston drink:

A Negroni at Giulia, or anything off the Blossom Bar menu.

First bartending job:

I worked at Cheers (Faneuil Hall) the summer I turned 19. I worked every position and learned how to make a Screaming Viking. Yes, it was pretty funny having the name “Sam” while working at Cheers.

Favorite cocktail pairing:

Sushi and fino sherry.

Day off drinking destination:

I love Lone Star Taco Bar. Whether I’m drinking mezcal and beer, or an awesome margarita, they don’t disappoint.

Dream customer:

Well, everyone. But if I had to pick someone specifically (and I got to fudge the rules of time and space), I’d like to make a drink for my great-grandfather who created Treadway Inns in 1909 and began a love for hospitality that has been inherited generation after generation. I’d like to make him a cocktail and thank him for the legacy he started.

Desert island drink:

What’s the only thing I want to drink for the rest of my life? Nikka Taketsuru 17 neat. But if I’m on a desert island I want something a bit more refreshing, like a mezcal Last Word.

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