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Barrel Room Chronicles

BRC EP 2 - Ghost Whiskey and The Guru

On this episode of Barrel Room Chronicles, A Glass Apart Author Fionnán O’Connor, shares how his academic career collided with the water of life. As an undergrad at UC Berkeley, he taught a one unit class in the Celtic Studies department about the amber spirit. This experience helped lead him into his post graduate work on the history of lost Irish Whiskeys. With a grant from the Irish government and the cooperation of BOANN DISTILLERY, O’Connor will be the first person to have a PHD in “Ghost Whiskey.”

Also appearing on this episode is Jonathan Pogash, the Cocktail Guru. Pogash tells how he became one of the most premiere cocktail consultants and bartenders for restaurants and spirit companies in the nation.


Fionnán O’Connor is an independent whiskey writer living in Dublin. His A Glass Apart was published in October 2015 and hailed by newspapers across the country as the definitive guide to Irish pot still whiskey. He has served as a consultant and lecturer for distilleries across Ireland, chairs the cask selection committee of the Irish Whiskey Society, worked as an independent bar staff educator, and represented Irish whiskey before the European Union. In 2018 he was awarded a full time PhD grant by the Irish Research Council to investigate the potential of lost historical mash bills in driving innovation in contemporary Irish distilling. He continues to contribute articles to books and magazines across the industry.


Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru™,” is one of the most premiere cocktail consultants and bartenders for restaurants and spirit companies. His signature cocktails can be seen and enjoyed in many of North America’s most upscale cocktail lounges and restaurants. With nearly 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Jonathan shares his insights with the most influential publications from around the world, and contributes his unique talents to morning television shows and national radio. Jonathan has appeared on such programs as NBC’s “Weekend Today in New York” and “Fox & Friends”.

Just as an Executive Chef may work their way up through the ranks “behind the line,” Jonathan has worked his way up from being a barback at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, to Owner and President of “The Cocktail Guru™,” a well-respected, full service beverage consulting firm. Jonathan was trained by cocktail luminaries Steve Olson, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, and Albert Trummer. Throughout the years, a style emerged – that of a career bartender interested in studying technique, cocktail history, fresh ingredients, and seasonality. His inspiration lies in unique ingredients and quality ensuring that every beverage program he creates remains consistent and thrives throughout the years.


This Irish Academic Is Getting His PhD in Ghost Whiskey
Irish doctoral student Fionnan O’Connor has been chasing ghosts. He is not pursuing the spectres of deceased warriors or poets, but rather forgotten Irish drinks. In a personal quest that has taken him from quiet university libraries to modern distilleries, he is determined to revive rare spirits made using old-fashioned methods and ingredients, specifically pot-still whiskies. As part of his Ph.D. thesis in ghost whiskeys, O’Connor is resuscitating pot-still recipes that have not been tasted for more than 100 years.
These long-lost beverages could soon enliven parties across Ireland, just like they did back in the 1800s. But that depends on whether O’Connor and Boann Distillery (his partner in reviving these whiskeys) can master discarded recipes, learn tricky distillation methods from bygone eras, and impress a panel of whiskey experts. Click below to read the full article:


Please visit https://www.barrelroomchronicles.com/ for full show notes, and coming attractions!

Barrel Room Chronicles is a production of 1st Reel Entertainment and is distributed by Anchor.FM and is available on Spotify, Apple, Google, iHeartRadio, Amazon and wherever fine podcasts are heard.