Joshua Anthony Campbell at Leyenda. Special thanks to Ivy Mix for styling and coaching support for Josh's first cocktail shoot.
At 25 Joshua Anthony Campbell is the youngest person on our line up of LGBTQ cocktail and spirit pros for the second annual Spirited Pride series in partnership with Campari America. When I sat down to chat with Joshua over Americanos at Dante on a sunny afternoon in early June, he was fresh off the boat from Buffalo by a matter of a couple weeks, and he'd already landed barback shifts at Leyenda and was hosting at Pouring Ribbons. We spoke about his start in the business, his love of rum cocktails, and the value of being focused and bold when going after opportunities.
JAC: I started out in Rochester at a restaurant called Revelry, and the same group owns Buffalo Proper in Buffalo, which is what brought me to Buffalo.
JR: What's the cocktail & food scene like in Buffalo?
JAC: It is very adventurous, it's a city that loves to drink, the cost of living is so low that people can afford to go out and drink every day, they have 4:00 am closing time, it's an amazing party city.
JR: So what's the average craft cocktail run you there?
JAC: Average is about ten bucks.
JR: Yeah, so that's a big difference from, say, here in NYC.
JAC: Prices are going up a little more with the evolution of craft cocktails there, and more expensive ingredients and more time consuming to produce, but capping out around twelve bucks.
JAC: Yes, it's great, a little bit goes and long way and it just takes up it a notch.
JR: So how did you come to move down to New York City?
JAC: Well, obviously the city is a hub for all things food and cocktail, it's at such a high level. I'm from the city originally so I'd be come down frequently to see family and friends, and make it a point to go to the great cocktail spots. So the things I was doing upstate were definitely insprired by people here like Ivy Mix, or Natasha David, all these great minds, and I've always been inspired by their individual styles and creativity. So moving down here to be more exposed to this level of creativity was always a draw, but considerations like cost of living made me think long and hard about it. But I had some personal changes, a relationship I was in ended, and I felt like I needed to make some decisions for myself. And I also realized, I'm at an age where I can afford to make a few mistakes. And I'm a bit of a gambler. So I'm rolled the die! I'm just really here to learn from these heroes that I look up to.
More after the jump, including the recipe for Josh's Black Rose...