Raising the Bar With Grafton Street’s Morgan Carney

Grafton Street's Morgan Carney mixes it up. Photos by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

Morgan Carney is a fixture at Grafton Street. The born-and-raised Cambridge resident has never strayed far from homehe studied at Tufts and eventually went on to law school at Boston University. It was during his days at BU that Carney started working at Grafton Street, first as a server and eventually as a member of the bar staff. The rest, as they say, is history. He’s been tending bar there for 11 years now and has been the restaurant’s bar manager since 2011.

“There’s such an eclectic mix of people here,” Carney says of working behind the Grafton Street bar. “You meet so many different people from all over the world … at any point in time at the bar you can have Harvard professors sitting next to construction workers sitting next to people from the neighborhood.” And the cocktail list at Grafton is as eclectic and timeless as its Harvard Square home, with refreshing seasonal twists on classic drinks. We asked Carney to shake up a few of his favorites so we could see how the pros do it.

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The 7th Ward

Bulleit Bourbon, Strawberry-Infused St. Germain, Downeast Cider, Fresh Lemon Juice

“This cocktail is based loosely on a New Orleans cocktail called the 9th Ward (Bourbon, St. Germain, falernum, Peychaud’s, lime), which is a twist on the classic Ward 8 (Rye, lemon, orange, and grenadine). Grafton Street is located in the 7th Ward of Cambridge.”

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The Crimson Cup

Greylock Gin, Pimm’s #1, Strawberry Simple Syrup, Cucumber Ice

“We peel and juice cucumbers, add water and freeze it into a perfect cube. The cocktail is essentially a reconstructed Pimm’s Cup.”

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GTO

Privateer Silver Rum, Giffard Crème de Violette, Habanero Shrub, Orange Simple Syrup

“The ‘Daiquiri Time Out,’ or DTO, is an industry expression meaning that there is always time in life for a daiquiri. This cocktail is a twist on a daiquiri created by Joe Gowland—hence, ‘GTO.’”

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Jumbo’s Ashes

Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin, Rothman Apricot Liqueur, Crude Orange & Fig Bitters, Basil

“This is a twist on the classic ‘Barnum’ cocktail. P.T. Barnum was an early trustee of Tufts University, and one of the stars of his show was ‘Jumbo’ the elephant. Jumbo passed away unexpectedly, and Barnum had him stuffed and donated him to Tufts. In the 1970s, the building where Jumbo was displayed burned down, leaving only his ashes. The ashes were collected and stored in a jar, which is kept in the athletic building and rubbed for good luck before games.”

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This story originally appeared as part of our annual best-of feature, “Scout’s Honored,” in the September/October print issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout Cambridge and just beyond its borders or by subscription.

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