Sasha Petraske, the godfather of modern cocktail culture, has died

Pour one out.
Pour one out.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
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Sasha Petraske, the visionary founder of influential cocktail bar Milk & Honey, passed away on Aug. 21 at the age of 42. Petraske and his bar—based in the Lower East Side in New York and Soho in London—are widely credited with the revival of cocktail and bartender culture.

Petraske’s friends, peers, and fans grieved his passing and paid homage to his legacy on Twitter.

From a focus on classic, pre-Prohibition drinks to the “bartender’s choice” option on many menus, you can’t walk into a bar today without seeing Petraske’s influence. And although he popularized craft cocktails and formal wear for bartenders, his opinions were simple and unpretentious.

“Cocktails are not worth intellectualizing, they are just something to be experienced,” he once said in an interview. “The fact that people talk about cocktails like one might talk about like wine, which you have to grow, is laughable. A cocktail is a simple thing—what matters is if you make it right.”

The Observer has suggested drinking one of Petraske’s O’Clássicos (avuá cachaça prata, lime, simple syrup, sugar, and ice) as a tribute to the man.