Q&A: Tenzin Samdo of Cafe ArtScience


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.

Go-to garnish:

My favorite garnish evolves very frequently. Currently, I’m using lots of different flavored tuiles (a baked wafer) and edible printed garnishes.

Dream customer:

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.

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