NL: How do you make high-end drinks accessible to people who don’t know anything about cocktails?
MM: Don’t scare them when you explain drinks on the menu. Don’t intimidate them. Make them feel as though they can go back to their house and pick out half of the shit that’s in that drink. If they don’t have passion fruit, it’s easy to go to Costco and get some. But things like Kina Avion, nobody knows what that is. And they don’t care.
NL: What’s the most annoying thing that people say when they come into your bar.
MM: What drink do you make the best?
NL: Why is that?
MM: Because I make all the drinks the best. If I’m going to make you a vodka and soda, I’m going to put together the best vodka soda I know how to make.
NL: People who know you out here know you as this laid back surfer dude, who always does the funnest thing whenever possible. What about your upbringing contributed to that hallmark style?
MM: It’s the music man. When I was six years old I took over my older brothers bedroom when he joined the Navy. He left all of his stuff behind and the first thing I looked at was his CD collection. And that was the biggest influence I had in my upbringing.
NL: What were some of the CD’s that were there?
MM: I remember seeing Operation Ivy, NOFX, NWA, and the Wu-Tang Clan. But I’d scroll a few pages later and there’d be a Jim Croce record or some Bob Dylan. Music still influences me through bartending. I find my bartending style to be a lot better when the soundtrack that is playing in my bar is something that I like. Those tracks really influence my mood, how I treat people, and how I go about doing mundane functions like grabbing ice.
MM: I am. I moved to New Orleans to play with my band.
NL: So you're from Boca Raton?
NL: What kind of things in your childhood had a big impact on who you are now?
MM: I remember when I was 10 or 11 sitting on the beach. And I was sitting on this fucking boogie board man, I was on this sponge in the middle of this big storm. It kind of sounds stupid now, but when I was 10 it made me feel so powerful. I was sitting on the beach and it was super sunny in the morning. I was out will my whole family. We were playing beach volleyball during the day and went for a surf. When the waves died down I was beached out, sitting on the sponge. And I remember this huge fucking storm brewing up and immediately dropped. It came from the water and hugged the coast and started pouring hurricane style. Everybody’s beach umbrellas were tearing off. And I was just sitting on my board thinking, “This is cool man. It’s totally fine.” I was proud of myself that I was super calm in this clusterfuck of people that were panicking and running for their beloved possessions. My mom was super concerned because my little brother and sister were just toddlers. I remember being proud that I was just chilling. I knew that this was gonna blow over in a minute. I knew that in 15 minutes the sun was gonna come out.
NL: And did it?
MM: Yeah. By the time we packed up our shit and went back up to the car it was pretty much sunny again. But that’s South Florida. Even though those people were used to that it was going to be shitty for 15 minutes only to be totally fine soon after.
NL: Total gear change. If you could pick two New Orleans bartenders to be your parents who would they be, and what do you think that house would be like?
MM: I knew that this was coming, but I wasn’t exactly prepared for it. So let’s give it a shot. My mom would be Cynthia Turner. I love Cynthia from the depths of my heart. She’s been a big influence on me. And my dad — Michael Glassberg! Glassberg is my dad is because I want to see him and Cynthia fight while I hide under my bed and watch them bicker. I’m a mama’s boy so Cynthia would be the person I run to when something is going wrong. And then Glassberg could show me things - like how to change the oil on a car.
NL: Do you think Glassberg knows how to change oil on a car?
MM: I sure hope so.
NL: Well, let me go off the deep end one more time before I ask you the question you know is coming. Who would you say is the most influential beverage professional in New Orleans right now? And let’s operate under the assumption that Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Espinothal, and Nick Detrich are a given. Who then would you say is a figurehead for our town right now in the beverage world.
MM: Well it’s tough, because there are a lot of great people out here. But, Ricky Gomez man.. Ricky is doing his thing all over the world, all the time. And he’s keeping his New Orleans roots and opening up a bar right here. I think Ricky is quietly making his strides. Leading the females is Kimberly Patton-Bragg. KPB is super influential. I know most other bars will send people to her bar because she’s really doing her thing well. Everyone talks so highly of Three Muses. I’d also have to say Cole is crushing it. I have a lot of respect for that guy.
NL: Two part question: Who is Chris Hannah to you? And what is your favorite Chris Hannah-ism?
MM: Ahhhh fuck!
NL: You knew this was coming man.
MM: I know, I know. I though about it earlier when you invited me here, and then completely blocked it out. Who is Chris Hannah? Ok, Chris Hannah is like this alien who came from the planet Zoltar, and listens to the voices that he hears in highball glasses. I don’t think he gets much influence other than that. Also, Hannah showed me one time that “word” can be an acceptable answer to any question.
NL: Give me an example.
MM: Hey Chris, where do I put this julep strainer after I’m done using it? Word. --NL