David Shenaut

This is number two in our many part series detailing the cocktail luminaries of Tales and the drinks that they mixed this year.

This year at Tales there was a bit of grumbling about the fact that the West (Left) Coast was largely ignored by the judges at the Spirit Awards. As one can imagine, this grumbling was mainly done by people living on the west coast of the US, who having largely forgotten the Great West Coast Sweep-up of 2007, felt that the West with its many great bars, should’ve had greater representation at Tales. While I agree with the fact that I’d like to see better left coast representation at Tales, I disagree with the sentiment that we were left out. Looking at the bars/people that were nominated I’d be hard pressed to name a bar/person from this side of the country that should’ve been mentioned instead. Now having said that, if I were to name a bar that needs to be recognized one day, I think that I wouldn’t have to look any further than Portland, Oregon and to my good friends at Teardrop Cocktail Lounge.

AMSCo Collection

Teardrop just celebrated their second anniversary last month, offering an excellent range of cocktails (as per usual) designed for the occasion at insanely cheap prices while at the same time offering up a bottle of whiskey that was distilled before prohibition to those whose pockets were a little deeper. (Full disclosure: the bottles came from a case that I had purchased and had spread out to some of the better bars in the Pacific Northwest: see picture to drool.) Teardrop is known for its outrageously large array of tinctures and bitters, as well as other fun homemade ingredients, including their infamous smoked ice. As I said earlier, they are doing wonderful things here.

While I was there for their fantastic shin-dig, I marveled at how the bar team managed to keep up with the insane volume (and my pestering), while all the while exuding fun. This attitude is a sign of a great bar and in large part the responsibility of the two men behind the wood; the genius behind the program, Daniel Shoemaker and his trusty number one, David Shenaut. Daniel is such a giving manager that this year he allowed Dave to go to Tales in his stead, opting to man the bar while the rest of the world joined in on the greatest party of the year. If that’s not leadership, then I defy you to give me a better example!

Which brings us to David and Tales (that is what this post is supposed to be about after all). This year Mr. Shenaut volunteered his services as one of the Tales’ Apprentices (a woeful title, as most of these individuals are great ‘tenders in their own right), which meant that he got to batch and shake approximately a thousand drinks over the course of the event, and essentially made the event a fun and “wet” one for the likes of lucky bastards like myself. From the Tales website we learn this about David:

David Shenaut got his start creating seasonal menus filled with infusions and syrups at Roots Restaurant and Bar. After several years of neglecting vermouth and bitters, “Neon” Dave was introduced to his first Pegu Club by Christian Krogstad at House Spirits Distillery. This inspired Dave to put down the plastic flair bottles and placed him on a mission to learn the techniques required in creating a more complex and balanced cocktail.

For the past 2 years, Dave has worked at the Teardrop Lounge, specializing in classic cocktails and a seasonal menu featuring house made bitters, gastriques and liquors. He is a founding board member of the Oregon Bartenders Guild. Dave considers himself fortunate to be in a community that shares his passion for cocktails: the customers, the critics, and others in the industry. He supports the growth of local distilleries, and appreciates the finely crafted spirits that are being produced in the Northwest.

Dave also owns Onthehouse.biz and works at Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro, where he is gradually introducing the town of Vancouver, Washington to tiki and classic cocktails–one Chauncey, Pink Lady, Suffering Bastard at a time.

Dave currently enjoys all aspects of bartending and has been seen off duty juggling bottles barefoot in the park with his children. He looks forward to expanding his spirits knowledge and focusing on a sustainable farm-to-cocktail approach to bartending.

So let’s mix up the drink that David served at this year’s Cocktail Hour and raise our glass to Mr. Shenaut in hopes that that he and Teardrop (or some other worthy west coast bar) get recognized at next year’s Spirit Awards.


2 oz Don Julio Reposado Tequila
½ oz Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Loft Raspberrycello
1 tsp Cynar
½ tsp Fernet Branca
½ tsp Aceto Balsalmic
Orange Zest
Combine all ingredients
stir with cracked ice

strain into chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with orange zest

David Shenaut

David Shenaut

Drink courtesy of David Shenaut
Photo by:
Jamie Boudreau


~ by Jamie Boudreau on August 1, 2009.

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