Sasha Petraske, founder of Milk & Honey one of the most iconic speakeasy-style bars in the world, had died. It’s hard to think of too many people who more influenced the industries they worked in than Sasha Petraske did the cocktail world. If you’ve been in a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the last 15 years, it’s basically because of Sasha and Milk & Honey in New York, which inspired and helped to spark a global style of speakeasy bars delivering craft cocktails. Talking to some bartenders in London tonight and a dear friend in the industry back in the States, people are rocked. An industry legend, and a tragically young one at that, has died.
I didn’t know Sasha, but I wouldn’t have been in a cocktail bar in London when I found out about his death were it not for his life.
Milk & Honey didn’t get me into cocktails. I never spent much time there. But Milk & Honey was essentially the speakeasy that inspired a thousand speakeasies. And as an aficionado, it’s important to know the relatively young history of the modern craft cocktail movement.
And so at the Dandelyan in the Mondrian Hotel in London, tonight I drank a Penicillin – one of the most famous cocktails to emerge from Milk & Honey – made by a bartender who’d recently worked at the second Milk & Honey in London, in honor of the life of a man I respected and many people who I admire cared for quite deeply.