Q&A: Tenzin Samdo of Cafe ArtScience
The Palmyra (Drink)
Tommy Noble (The Automatic)
Tenzin Samdo’s inventive drinks—many of which use spices and teas—hint at his eclectic background. A son of Tibetan refugees, the mixologist grew up in India and moved to Cambridge during high school. While studying theater in college, he worked in a bar to make extra money—but it wasn’t long before the nighttime gig turned into a full-time passion. Today, Samdo boasts nearly two decades of bartending experience around the city, an substantial Instagram following at @bostonmixdrink, and a carefully curated cocktail list as bar director and partner at Kendall Square’s Café ArtScience.
Favorite Boston drink:
Currently the Paper Parasol cocktail at Lion’s Tail bar is pretty delicious. It’s a riff on the classic Paper Plane made with aged Angostura Rum and Amaro, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, and citrus.
First bartending job:
My first gig was for a few hours during a lunch shift almost 20 years back at the Legal Sea Foods in Kendall Square—a day after the Fourth of July. The bartender scheduled to work called in, and as a barback/oyster boy, my manager asked me to fill in the shift. My first full time behind the stick was at the Dine Boston Bar & Grill in Terminal E at Logan Airport.
Favorite cocktail pairing:
Clarified piña colada and fried okra.
My favorite garnish evolves very frequently. Currently, I’m using lots of different flavored tuiles (a baked wafer) and edible printed garnishes.
I’ve always enjoyed making drinks for bartenders and chefs. I wouldn’t mind making a cocktail or two for Mark Zuckerberg.
Day off drinking destination:
The Hawthorne in Kenmore Square definitely is one of my all-time favorites. Jared Sadoian, the beverage director, is a pioneer in the beverge and hospitality industry. Besides his talent behind the stick, he’s a very kind and humble guy.
Desert island drink:
Miami Vice: two of my favorite fruits with rum. Win-win situation there.