Jason Kosmas Makes It an Unhappy Hour
For Dallas Drinkers

As Nancy Nichols reported over at Sidedish yesterday, superstar bartender Jason Kosmas has mixed his last drink at Neighborhood Services Tavern.

Kosmas hasn't yet returned my call, but he didn't hint at the reason for his departure when I spoke to him last week.

Asked whether he was planning to return to his Dallas post after celebrating the release of his new book Speakeasy at Employees Only, the New York bar he co-owns, Kosmas told me: "Yes, I am. It's going great."

According to Nichols' crack reporting, Saturday was Kosmas' last day (which means he technically did return to Dallas, as promised.)

Kosmas was instrumental in introducing drinkers at Neighborhood Services to a sophisticated brand of cocktailing, but his local influence may have been strongest behind the scenes. Kosmas' decade in the trade makes him a graybeard among mixologists, and up-and-comers are in the habit of seeking his counsel: He repeatedly advised area bartenders not to race past their customers in their sprint to the vanguard.

Kosmas urged colleagues to remember that, in Dallas, "people's idea of a cocktail is still on the tail end of the martini."

Complaints about mixologists who try to do too much before mastering the basics are becoming a common refrain in cocktail circles. Spirits expert Gary Regan tackled the topic in a recent column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

"I've no wish for today's bartenders to stop pushing the envelope," he wrote. "I'm pretty much insistent, though, that we take a hard look at the bartenders who have been trying to blind us with their mad-scientist-type potions while rendering cocktails reminiscent of an emperor's new clothes."

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