Job title: Senior Cocktail Correspondent for the Faith Middleton Food Schmooze WNPR; Member Patron 60 Hands Alliance; Freelance Spirit Ambassador and Bartender
Time spent bartending: 18 Years
Favorite job you ever had:
Bartending at Aleia’s restaurant where I got my passion and my start.
A well-made Negroni, Last Word, Clover Club, and/or a Ramos Gin Fizz.
Ones that use proper tools, techniques and clean glasses. They don’t have to be pros but it helps if they want to be. I also enjoy a relaxing casual bar where I can enjoy a pint and watch my friends serve high volume shots and beers and 1:1’s because there is more to bartending than shaken vs stirred. I appreciate those who hustle with a smile.
Where did you grow up, and what was it like there?
I grew up in the once small suburban town of Branford, CT just on the outskirts of New Haven. It was quiet and peaceful. My dad is a barber and has been for almost half a decade (he taught me how not to judge people). My mom stayed home to take care of us till we (my two older sisters and I) were old enough to go to school. Then they both worked hard to provide us a good home in our small community.
Favorite childhood memory?
Just being able to do all the things kids today should do. Climb trees, ride bikes and roller-skate without pads, break arms without suing the neighbors. Play in the woods, making forts, neighborhood football games and street hockey.
What do you like best about what you do?
Educating my staff and guests that are interested in being educated. Coming up with new or classic cocktails that will pair with the topic of the day on the radio show. Inspiring new bartenders, learning from old bartenders, and getting inspired by the young ones that have the enthusiasm and passion for the craft. They push me to make myself better before the student becomes the master.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Making someone happier than when they came in. And of course that perfect pour and the first sip after when the guest is pleased...that positive reaction.
What do you do to relax outside of work?
When is that?
Cross-country trip down the east coast to Florida, across the south, up the California coast. Then back across the north. Hitting Bourbon country, New Orleans (just in time for Tales, of course), into Texas, Vegas, up the Pacific Coast Highway into wine countr, Midwest breweries, Chicago, NYC, and home.
“Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride” - Hunter S. Thompson
“The demons aren’t daemons… the demons are you” - Ben Hamper
“If your eye is on the tip jar, your back is to the customer” – me
“It’s what you learn after you think you know it all that counts” - Einstein
Advice you could offer to others:
Be Neat, Be Clean, Be Responsible, Be Trustworthy. Make an Honest Drink for an Honest Price. The cocktail you just made is not finished until your tools are clean, and always set and reset your station or you are automatically in the weeds and it’s your own fault. Don’t judge a customer by how much they tip nor treat them differently because of it. Crack a Beer, pour a highball, and serve them all the same way you would your infusion with 8 types of bitters. Do what you love. And dammit, leave your ego at the door with your problems.
Who do you look up to?
The usual suspects, Dale and Dave. But most importantly Charlotte Voisey and Gary gaz Regan who have always been there from the start and taught and believed in me. Everyone who reads this and either recognizes my name or has given me the chance to work with them. The USBG members starting with my chapter and the entire Patron Team, my 60 Hands Alliance friends. All of whom make me who I am. And anyone who doesn’t look down on me. And, finally, every bartender I have ever been on a team with.
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
I work in the hospitality industry, mostly restaurants. I had a huge phobia until I was 20: Restaurants. Fear is beatable...
What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? Being inspired as well as inspiring. I hope, how ever long the future may be, that circle never breaks. I would like to do more education in our craft in a unique way. And maybe a book deal...that would be nice.