Bars, Serves /

Grafton Street Pub, Cambridge

You know a restaurant is doing something right when someone has been working there for 14 years. Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one such place, and General Manager Morgan Carney is one such employee.

“Man, has it been that long? It’s certainly gone by real fast,” Morgan says, smiling as he looks out at the airy, unpretentious space he’s called home since 2004.

General Manager Morgan Carney has worked at Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge for 14 years, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Although 14 years is certainly a considerable time, Grafton Street Pub feels like it’s even older, a Cambridge staple that has seen generations of college students, locals, and old-timers come and go. We ask him if a lot has changed.

“Completely, and also not at all,” he says. “I’ll tell you, the drinks I’m making have changed. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point I went from pouring whiskey-cokes to stirring Vieux Carres and shaking egg white drinks with house-made syrups.”

We have to admit, the place does not scream craft cocktail bar; the beer list, long and local, is written in big letters on a chalkboard next to the bar. But the cocktail menu tells a different story: rhubarb-infused gin, coconut oil-washed mezcal, a Paper Plane cocktail on tap. They’re not messing around.

“We’ve had some really creative bartenders work here over the years, and every time we make a new cocktail menu, some of these guys are really diligent about it. That coconut oil mezcal drink, this guy worked on that for four months.”

We’re starting to settle into this place. The May breeze drifts over the bar from the open windows overlooking the Harvard campus. Not that we ever need any excuse, but it’s a perfect time to drink some gin. As if on cue, Morgan gathers ingredients to make us a drink.

“The first time we tried Brockmans, we loved it. We’ve had a Brockmans drink on every menu since.”

Morgan Carney shakes his Clover Club riff, the Blue Clover, at Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This menu’s version is called the Blue Clover, a riff on the classic cocktail the Clover Club, but with a Brockmans twist. Instead of raspberry, he’s made a blueberry compote that he’s laced with thyme and lemon. It’s an egg white drink, so he has a lot of shaking to do. He gets to it.

Shaking complete, he patiently double strains the frothy, reddish-purple liquid into a chilled coupe. The color is striking, and the flavour does not disappoint. A touch herbal, a touch fruity, with a delightfully airy mouthfeel. Balanced and simple, with just enough nuance.

We can tell that after all this time, Morgan hasn’t tired from this bartender life. It certainly suits him.

Morgan Carney double-strains his Brockmans cocktail, the Blue Clover, into a chilled coupe at Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“After all these years, I could never work a desk job. I sit down at a computer for five minutes and I have to take a lap.”

We completely and utterly understand.

The Blue Clover, a Brockmans cocktail, at Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Blue Clover

by Morgan Carney

Ingredients

  • 2.25 oz/ 66ml Brockmans Gin
  • 0.75 oz / 22ml lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 0.75 oz / 22ml housemade blueberry/thyme compote

Method

Measure all ingredients into a tin. Shake vigourously without any ice, then add ice and shake vigourously again. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with three fresh blueberries on a skewer. Enjoy.

If you’re in the Boston area, go visit Morgan at Grafton Street Pub in Cambridge. You won’t regret it.