Jacob Franklin, 28, dubbed by voters as “the Ginja Ninja,” says bartending is “a passion I’ve had for a long time.” Franklin has called Eugene home for a decade now, but his first job slinging drinks was at a country bar in his hometown of Chicago. There he had lots of day regulars, most notably a Sunday morning crew of 12 Christian bikers — “Like a motorcycle gang, but for Jesus.” These days, he pours drinks and hosts an always poppin’ karaoke on Monday and Wednesday nights at Black Forest. Not into karaoke? Go visit him, as one voter notes, for “His face, his smile, the way he knows what I want, the way his jeans fit him.”
What’s your favorite thing about bartending?
Really, it’s not just about putting two ingredients together. I really like coming up with stuff and mixing flavors. I know that doesn’t quite go with the bar that I work at, specifically, but it’s something that I’ve really been trying for. I try and learn every time I’m there. I also like the social aspect of being able to host a fun party, but at the same time, I like the art of it.
What’s your least favorite thing?
Probably the social aspect, too. When people have had too many or when they just don’t understand that having alcohol is a privilege — that’s kind of the part that sucks, when I have to be firm.
What’s your signature drink?
I really like making a midnight lemon drop. Although, we just got this Viniq stuff in, and it’s glittery, which makes it really fun to work with. Just recently, I made this watermelon Viniq martini with a pop rock rim, and that might be my favorite now.
A lot of people mentioned your red hair. What’s your reaction to that?
I don’t know. There’s so much social stigma, to a certain extent, with redheads. There totally is. I get that comment a lot — people just saying, “Wow, you are a redhead.” And I’m like, “I don’t know exactly what that means, but I appreciate it, so thank you. Does that make me, like, first place loser?” But apparently not.
What, for you, is the weirdest thing about bartending?
I would like to hope that the weirdest experience I’ve had while bartending still hasn’t happened, because I like weird people. One weird thing, I guess, is that I’m also a single dad, and I have full custody of my kid, so that really kind of transfers over … he’s basically why I keep pushing. When he was a toddler was when I first started bartending, so I learned quickly how to deal with people at a slow place.