Escape into Firefly's warm and woodsy cocktail den, where drinks take a cue from the chef's rooftop garden for a collection of aromatic aperitifs. This glowing retreat features a mixology-driven beverage program conceptualized by veteran bar manager Jon Harris, who honed the art of craft cocktails at famed D.C. speakeasy The Gibson. Focusing on unusual flavor combinations and the interplay of textures, Harris creates libations - including Firefly's eponymously named cocktail with honey, pine, yuzu , rum and gin - that tell a multi-sensory story. Join us for weekday happy hour, pre-dinner bar bites or before date night in the dining room; we can always recommend the perfect craft beer, wine or spirit to wet your whistle.
Jon Harris, Firefly
What was your first job?
Painting my trumpet teacher's house, I guess. He said that I needed to upgrade my student trumpet to a professional one if I was going to progress as a musician. Thing is, it cost $1300 and as a high school freshman, I didn't have that kind of cash lying around. So, he offered me the job of painting his house in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. It was pretty miserable. I had to take 2 or 3 buses to get there and paint outside during a Chicago heat wave. Of course, he wanted the house painted white, which was fun for the neighborhood kids who'd throw mud all over the freshly painted porch after I left. I think I painted the porch at least 5 times. I also was horrible at painting and don't even think I finished the job completely. But, I managed to raise half the money and my father kicked in the other half and on the day we went to buy the horn, a picture of me playing in the band was on the front page of the Arts Section of the Chicago Sun-Times.
How did you get into bartending?
Initially I started when I was in graduate school in London at the London School of Economics. I worked at a place called Babes & Burgers on Portobello Road. They needed someone to work their juice/wine bar and I needed money. At some point, the owner decided he wanted to serve cocktails too, so he built a small bar in the back of the restaurant. I went out and bought a big cocktail book and some shakers and spoons and started reading about cocktails and liquor. It took off from there. Then, after returning to the US, moving to DC, and not being able to find a "real" job during the Great Recession, I started working as a server at a restaurant in DC. Eventually they let me sling some drinks and I started learning again.
What bar tool can you not live without?
Kevin Diedrich said "ice." I'm going to one up him and say "heart." Heart is the most important tool.
If you could only drink one cocktail for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tanqueray & Tonic. It's my juicebox.
What three things should every home bartender have?
A shaker, liquor and something with which to measure.
Where does the inspiration for your drinks come from?
All kinds of places. Music, women, life in general. Places you visit or imagine. Sometimes I just want to explore a flavor or concept.
Who has been the most influential in your career?
Derek Brown hired me at The Gibson in 2008. He launched my career. Adam Bernbach, who used to sling drinks at Bar Pilar, would do a five drink tasting menu every Tuesday. He had all kinds of imaginative things going on. I started being creative with the drinks because of him. Kevin Diedrich was the first person I saw shake and stir drinks simultaneously and we traded recipes over nerdy things like gomme syrup when he worked in DC.
If you could seat any three people at your bar who would they be?
Keith Richards, Niccolo Machiavelli and Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.