Sasha Petraske, aged only 42, was found dead in his apartment by his wife earlier this week. The cause of death is yet to be established, but it is believed he died in his sleep.
Bartenders, publicans and all those who have been following the return of the classic cocktail over the past 20 years are mourning the passing of a vanguard of the liquor industry. Petraske opened Milk & Honey in New York's lower East Side, a bar that is widely regarded as being at the forefront of the modern mixology revival. It's almost-secretive location and insistence on booking a table in advance was a nod to the speakeasy and a bygone era in which cocktails were chiefly about the elevation of the base spirit.
Always the bartender's champion, he raised the respectabilty of the profession with his mix of pride in his work and his humility. His influence on contemporary drinks culture cannot be overstated.