You describe your new book, The Seasonal Cocktail Companion, as "arts and crafts... with booze!" What's the most memorable thing you've crafted while under the influence?

Probably a "Hairy Buffalo." I did it with a garbage bag in the sink. It was a bunch of chopped fruit, gin, and whiskey.

Sounds like sangria.

It's... the remedial version.

Is Madison Park as stuffy as people think?

It's misunderstood. Customers welcomed us to the neighborhood and they've been toasting our first anniversary with glasses of prosecco.

What's the weirdest thing a patron has done?

Actually, it was [when I was bartending] in Illinois. A guy who was hitting on me threw up on the bar. His friend pushed him aside, put his elbows right in, um, the sick, and started using the same shtick his friend had.

Before finding the gravel barge the Madison Park Conservatory's bar is made from on Craigslist, did you go through several awkward, creepy gravel barges that looked nothing like their pictures?

[Laughs] It took a leap of faith to discover there was anything good under those fish-gut-water-soaked boards. They still creak like a boat.

Interview by Sarah Galvin