Archive for the ‘Look at You: Bartender Spotlight’ Category

Look at You, Bartender: José Ropero López, Glace Cocktail Club, Córdoba, Spain

Monday, August 25th, 2014

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?2 José Ropero López

Relationships. leadership,

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

Scientific Divulgation by Eduardo Punset

What spirit do you like to turn people on to?

Brandy, Wines. One that the guest doesn´t know.

What cocktail do you like to turn people on to?

Mint Julep, Rusty Nail, Old Fashioned…

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Water.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Dolphin.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

I´m a very good lover… (Joke), have a big and hidden heart.

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Look at You, Bartender: Ryan Ringer, Independent Consultant, Toronto, Canada

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Ryan Ringer, Independent Consultant, Toronto, Canada

 What do you like best about being in the weeds?1 Ryan Ringer

That magical moment when you realize you’re not even thinking about what you’re doing. You’re just doing it and everything’s splendid. The room is abuzz with warm conversation, everyone’s happy, the drinks (and money) are flowing, and time is flying.

What music do you like to play when you’re in the weeds?

A good danceable tune with soul. Something that brings the swagger out of everyone around you.

What’s the worst thing a fellow bartender can do to you when you’re in the weeds?

Disrespect mise en place.

What’s the worst thing a customer can do to you when you’re in the weeds?

Ask for a drink that they had last week at a bar down the street but can’t even recall any details – what it tasted like, what was in it, or, at least, what it was called.

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?

I was on a competitive improv team all through high school. It taught me to be a team player, to be comfortable outside my comfort zone, to become a better listener, to take myself less seriously, to be quick on my feet, and to always be a YES person. These are all key qualities of a good bartender – and generally are all invaluable life lessons. I’m grateful for that education. I’m a better person for it.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

 The Town and the City, by Jack Kerouac. It’s a beautiful story about a lot of relatable things – family, love, loss, longing, joy, despair, survival. It’s got it all. 

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Look at You, Bartender: Marek Vojcarcik, Freelance consultant & Mixologist, Bangkok,Thailand

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Marek Vojcarcik, Freelance consultant & Mixologist, Bangkok,Thailand

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?SONY DSC

I think it was logical and independent thinking out of the box, except casual knowledge. And [I learned] roll a cigarette with one hand.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Name your favorite brand name

Tequila-Patron

Vodka-Beluga

Scotch-Single Malt-Bowmore 6y.sherry cask, Blended-Johnnie Walker Double Black

Brandy-Calvados Druin or Dupont

Bourbon-Jeffersons Reserve,Woodford

Rye-Rittenhouse 100 proof

Gin-Monkey 47

Mezcal-Montelobos

Liqueur- Bentianna

Soda-Fentimans Rose Lemonade

Rum-Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Dictador 25

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Water, pure clean water. In my village you can drink it from streams.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Wolf,definitely…

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

When I wasn’t  a bartender, I wanted to be a shoe designer. Maybe [one day] I’ll open Cocktails & High Heels concept. I think it would fits together perfectly—you know what I mean 🙂

Wanna add something?

Always vodka to my lemonade 🙂

(Marek gets the prize for coolest bartender picture, too!)

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Look at You, Bartender: Phoebe Esmon. Bar Emmanuelle and The Yachtsman Bar, Philadelphia PA, USA

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Phoebe Esmon. Bar Emmanuelle and The Yachtsman Bar, Philadelphia PA, USA

What do you like best about being in the weeds?1 Phoebe Esmon

The feeling of focused stillness that comes from working as fast as I can.  Like standing in the eye of a storm.  Also the choreography of drink building.

What music do you like to play when you’re in the weeds?

Something energetic, that I can sing along to.  I sing a lot when I am working.

What’s the worst thing a fellow bartender can do to you when you’re in the

weeds?

Disarrange my mis or invade my work space

What’s the worst thing a customer can do to you when you’re in the weeds?

Wave a hand or a dollar bill in my face.

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?

How to defend myself with humor and wit instead of my fists.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

I don’t really have one.  I have more a list of favorites, but The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, by Umberto Eco is near the top.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Water

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Probably some sort of feline, or perhaps one of those water birds that is unbelievably awkward on land.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

I have an uncanny knack for remembering all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

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Look at You, Bartender: Frederic Yarm, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Frederic Yarm, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?5 Frederic Yarm

During my high school years, I was a camp counselor at a day camp which has proven quite helpful to my job as an adult babysitter at the bar. At the school itself, it was probably not all the science, math, and English classes I took, but the pottery and photography classes that taught me to open my mind and not worry about grades as much as personal satisfaction in the art and craft.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

AndréBreton’s Nadja which broadened the way I looked at the world. I have given that book out as a gift about as muchas my previous favorite, Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.

What do you like to drink after a long, hard shift?

Often an India Pale Ale of some sort, although I will go for other beer styles if I have not tried that beer before.

Name a specific brand-name spirit that you think is the best in its category:

Bénédictine as an herbal liqueur. It seems like it was the bartender’s ketchup long before St. Germain stole theshow.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Coffee black, unsweetened, and warm.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

If it wasn’t a spoiled house catlike my own four, it would have to be a Cambridge rabbit. At various parts of town including the MIT campus, the adults run around, play, eat, and multiply almost carefree in a sheltered environment that is free from predators.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

Despite being an extrovert behind the bar and on social media, my previous career as a biochemist had me quite comfortable as a major introvert.

Wanna add something?

While home on summer break in college, my mom encouraged me to respond to a bartender-needed newspaper ad at a place called Helwig’s in Milford, Connecticut. Despite never having been in a bar before (I was under 21), not knowing much about booze other than cheap beer, and in the end not getting the job, I remembered her advice that bartending was a job that never falls out of fashion. Which is amusing since she was rather against drinking.

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Look at You, Bartender: Devin Cross, Bascule at the Cape Grace, Cape Town, South Africa

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Name: Devin Cross2 Devin Cross

City and Country: Cape Town, South Africa

Bar/Restaurant where you work: Bascule at the Cape Grace, Cape Town, South Africa

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?

Money and status have no impact on how great a person you become.  I went to both public and private schools and people in private education lacked moral center and integrity because they didn’t appreciate life like the ones in the government school.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss.  It’s like he knew what my life had in store for me, even for the next 20 years.

What spirit do you like to turn people on to?

Grappa. It’s very misunderstood and underappreciated. My dad and I always share one after a meal.

What cocktail do you like to turn people on to?

Tequila Martinez.  It’s tequila in its most moor-ish and drinkable guise. I always serve it to people who hate tequila and they ALWAYS love it.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink? Close tie between Root Beer and Elderflower Cordial with Soda.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

A Tiger. Majestic, elegant and dangerous.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

I used to be in a boys choir. Was fortunate to tour Japan twice. Best time of my life.

Wanna add something?

This was a fun exercise.  It’s not always about the guests and drinks in this business. It’s about how we interact with one another as humans.

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Look at You, Bartender: Neil Sweeney, Gekkos Bar, Frankfurt, Germany

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Neil Sweeney, Gekkos Bar, Frankfurt, Germany

BEST THING LEARNED AT SCHOOL:6 Neil Sweeney

Best thing I learned at school, which I have used the most in this job is quite plainly: counting!

FAVOURITE NON-BAR-RELATED BOOK:

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

PERSONAL COCKTAIL SPECIALTY:

I would say one of my signature drinks the “Five o’clock Smash” a aged rum-mint-smash with an homemade earl grey syrup replacing sugar. Simply because the drink contains my favourite mixing spirit at the moment, additionally the drink draws connection to my heritage. On top of that it is a drink that almost everybody likes blokes, birds, bartenders etc.

JOB IF NOT BARTENDER:

Sport journalism, preferred Rugby & Football

WHAT ANIMAL WOULD I BE:

A lion. Elegant, commanding and fierce.

SOMETHING FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT ME:

Almost went into the language correspondent business.

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Look at You, Bartender: Sother Teague, Amor y Amargo. New York, USA

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Bartending is a Look-at-Me job.  There’s just no getting away from it.  So in this column we’re going to take a look at you, and we hope that we’ll be asking you some questions that will help us get a handle on what goes on inside the crazy brain of the bartender.

Sother Teague, Amor y Amargo. New York, USA6 sother teague

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?

“If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book? ‘

The Thought Gang by Tibor Fischer

What cocktail do you consider to be your specialty, and why?

Can I say 3? Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni It’s basically all we make at Amor y Amargo, or variations thereof. We don’t use any juice or sugar, all of our drinks are stirred. After 3 years+ of this, I feel expert in these three drinks. Plus, I love them.

If you couldn’t be involved in the bar/restaurant business, what would you do to make  living?

I’ve always had a fascination with the United States Postal Service. Maybe I’d be a letter carrier in a beachside town.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

As a New Year’s resolution 12 years ago, I gave up everything except water and alcohol. So, water is my answer.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

I AM AN ANIMAL!

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

Oddly, I suffer from mild agoraphobia. Crowded places give me great anxiety unless I’m protected by having a bar in front of me. But, I’d never stop bartending. I love it.

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Look at You: Carol Donovan, Intoxicatingly Fun Cocktails / Chicago Hilton & Towers, Chicago, IL, USA

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Look at You: Carol Donovan

Bartending is a Look-at-Me job.  There’s just no getting away from it.  So in this column we’re going to take a look at you, and we hope that we’ll be asking you some questions that will help us get a handle on what goes on inside the crazy brain of the bartender.

Name: Carol Donovan7 Carol Donovan

City and Country:  Chicago, IL, USA

Bar/Restaurant where you work: 

Intoxicatingly Fun Cocktails / Chicago Hilton & Towers

City and Country of the Bar/Restaurant where you work: 

Chicago, IL, USA

What’s the best thing you learned at high school? 

In high school I learned that I CAN indeed try to do it all!  I was in sports, music, co-edited the school paper, and much more.  I probably learned more about myself and other people than I did about any particular subject or class.

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book? 

I enjoy books that help me to explore my spiritual nature or teach me about others.  A current favorite is “There Are No Accidents” by Robert Hopcke.  I also enjoy the guilty pleasure of historical romances for beach reading.

Name your favorite brand name 

I simply MUST preface this by saying for me favorite can be situational, so I may have to offer more than just one for some of these.

Tequila        Casa Noble, Fortaleza

Vodka           Traveler

Scotch          Highland Park, Tomintoul

Brandy         Pierre Ferrand cognac, LeCompte Calvados, unaged: Macchu Pisco La Diablada

Bourbon      Parker’s Heritage Golden Anniversary, Four Rose, Balcones, Angel’s Envy

Rye                Willett, Rittenhouse BiB

Gin                 Citadelle, G’Vine (oh, so MANY favorites here)

Mezcal          Del Maguey Chichicapa

Liqueur        Xante, King’s Ginger, Merlet strawberry, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, The Big O, Clemente Creole Shrubb, El Dorado rum cream

Soda              No favorite

Rum              Plantation 20th Anniversary, Depaz Rhum, Zacapa 23, Angostura 1919

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink? 

A good spicy ginger beer

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? 

I think I would be a dolphin!  Having fun even with work and out to help others enjoy themselves, too.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

With 10 brothers & sisters, I have a lot of nieces and nephews.  Often, I will play with the toys I get for them – of course under the guise of making sure they work.  Some have even received Play-doh which has been “tested” beforehand.

Wanna add something? 

This was HARD!  It was like trying to pick a favorite child!

Some other things I love don’t seem to have a category above:  Amaros? Vermouths? Bitters?

Also, despite how it looks, I had to leave many things I would consider favorites off the list.

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Look at You: Chris Cardone, IL Buco Alimentari & Vineria, NY, USA

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Look at You:

Chris Cardone, Ronkonkoma, NY, USA7 Chris Cardone

Bar/Restaurant where you work: 

IL Buco Alimentari & Vineria, NY, USA

What’s the best thing you learned at high school? 

How to be myself

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

Fight Club 

Name your favorite brand name

Tequila: Cabeza Blanco

Vodka: Aylesbury Duck

Scotch: Bowmore 15-year-old Single Malt

Brandy: Hennessy Paradis (when someone is willing to buy it for me)

Bourbon: Johnny Drum

Rye: Good old Rittenhouse 100

Gin: Tanqueray 10

Mezcal: Del Maguey Tobola

Rum: Cana Brava

Liqueur: Green Chartreuse

Soda: Lurisa Tonico

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink? 

A non-alcoholic Pina Colada, (yup, I admit it)

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? 

A Lion, obviously.

Tell us something that very few people know about you:

I love to travel, but I’m terrified of flying and I get home sick really fast 

Wanna add something?

There is way too much politics involved in the bar business these days.  We as a community need to worry less about the liquor brands, brand ambassadors, industry publications and social media and worry more about the guest’s experiences.

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Look at You: Josh Powell, Bar 44, Penarth, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Monday, July 21st, 2014

This time we’re talking to Josh Powell, bartender at Bar 44, Penarth,  Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Josh Powell

 

What do you like best about being in the weeds?

It’s a catalyst for making the day go quicker. It’s more enjoyable to be busy and time flies when you’re having fun.

 

What music do you like to play when you’re in the weeds?

I don’t get to play DJ where I work but if I could I’d have my indie playlist from my iPad playing to keep things upbeat.

 

What’s the worst thing a fellow bartender can do to you when you’re in the weeds?

Smash glass in the ice well.

 

What’s the worst thing a customer can do to you when you’re in the weeds?

Any kind of rudeness is hard to tolerate when extra busy. Emotions are heightened at that time so you have to try and be extra cool, calm and collected.

 

What’s the best thing you learned at high school?

That nobody is the same person for life. Everybody changes and things that were once cool have a habit of going out of fashion as soon as the next big thing comes along.

 

What’s your favorite non-bartender-related book?

Paper Towns by John Green

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