Master Mixologists -August 2011
by: Joshua H. Balling
photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger
Whether you’re fresh off the beach or sitting down to a gourmet meal, enjoying a well-deserved island vacation or taking a little down time from work in the middle of another busy summer, there’s no better way than to relax than with a cocktail prepared by one of the island’s top-of-the-line bartenders. They’re friendly, knowledgeable, good at what they do, and keep you coming back for more. This month, Nantucket Today would like to introduce you to just a few. CHEERS!
Venue: The Club Car
Years of Bartending Experience: 5 on Nantucket
Favorite Drink: Usually includes tequila, or a nice glass of bubbly.
Signature Drink: Blueberry martini, made with the delicious 888 blueberry vodka.
Best Thing about Being a Bartender: Meeting great people and the excitement of a busy night.
Worst thing about Being a Bartender: The late nights.
Seasonal or Year-Round: Seasonal.
What Do You Do in the Winter? I go to school in South Florida and work at a golf club in the winter.
Favorite Day-off Activity: Sunday Funday. It usually includes the beach, a bike ride, some fishing, and a few local beverages.
Best Bartending Tip: You can’t win ’em all.
Years of Bartending Experience: 8
Favorite Drink: 007
Signature Drink: Pearfection-Grey Goose LaPoire, St. Germaine, ginger ale and fresh lime juice.
Best Thing About Being a Bartender: Meeting people.
Worst Thing about Being a Bartender: Late nights.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Seasonal.
What Do you Do in the Winter? Bartend in Park City, Utah.
Favorite Day-off Activity: Going to the beach.
Favorite Thing About Nantucket: Friends.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: When in doubt, more booze.
Venue: Corazon Del Mar and Tuesdays at The Pearl
Years of Bartending Experience: A decade
Favorite Drink: Shinebox at Slip 14
Signature Drink: The Crack Tini at Corazon, after I add the oh-so-addictive crack sauce (cilantro, serrano chilis, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce) from our Mixto Ceviche with vodka.
Best Thing About Being a Bartender: The countless remarkable customers and co-workers I have met throughout my “Life behind Bars.”
Worst Thing about Being a Bartender: On Nantucket, it’s the end of August.
Year-round or Seasonal: Seasonal
What do you do in the winter? I move around. A lot. My gypsy-like tendencies have led me to filming and writing about my world travels including Europe, New Zealand, Australia and most recently Indonesia. I am returning to Bali in November to produce/film my first documentary. I am also currently finishing my first book about a decade of “Life Behind Bars” and adventures around the world. Through my journeys, I hope to inspire others to step outside of their comfort zone and see all of the hidden (and not so hidden) gems the world has to offer.
Favorite day-off activity: Bike rides through hidden trails and ending up at my favorite little beach spot.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: With the absence of McDonald’s, Starbucks and Target, I really enjoy the special small-town feel of family-owned restaurants and local businesses.
Tip From A Pro: Bartenders hear everything.
Venue: Dune Restaurant and Bar
Years of Bartending Experience: Almost 7
Favorite Drink: I prefer to drink a reposado tequila on the rocks with a little lime juice, agave nectar and Cointreau. For others? It’s fun to be a bit more creative. I love when people give me an idea of what spirit and flavor profiles they like and let me play around with their drinks.
Signature Drink: Hmmm. This is a toughy, as I change the cocktail list at Dune pretty frequently. I think the old standby for me has always been my Espresso Martini: house-infused vanilla and espresso bean vodka, Kahlua and Tia Maria, shaken with a shot of fresh espresso. I appropriated this recipe from my years at Fifty-Six Union.
Best Thing About Being a Bartender: The creativity drink-making allows. The bar’s not that much different than a kitchen. Changing up ingredients and spirits to see what tastes heavenly is fun. Also, I like that the atmosphere of a bar is so dynamic. The vibe totally depends on who’s on the stools in front of me.
Worst thing about being a bartender: That I mostly operate outside of the “normal” world’s schedule occasionally bums me out, especially in summer.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Year-round (ish). I tend to leave every other year. It’s like hitting the refresh button and helps me stay in love with Nantucket.
If seasonal, what do you do in the winter: I always return home to the Midwest.
Favorite day-off activity: I normally am pretty boring. I walk my dog, go to the beach, take a nap, attempt to start and finish a book in a day, and hopefully squeeze in some time to see my family.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: Those days on Nantucket, especially in September, when I’m at the beach and the sky is more blue than I’d ever imagined possible, and I’m able to feel totally alone but somehow a part of it all.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Drink only what you love. It’s your body’s way of preventing a hangover. And fresh is always best!
Venue: The Pearl
Years of Bartending Experience: 6
Favorite Drink: Michelob Ultra
Signature Drink: Lost in Translation – a blend of Hangar 1 Spiced Pear, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and cardamom, shaken over ice and served in a chilled martini glass, garnished with an edible wild hibiscus flower.
Best thing about being a bartender: Meeting new people every day.
Worst thing about being bartender: Always working the holidays.
Year-Round or seasonal: Seasonal
What do you do in the winter? Ski
Favorite day-off activity: Going for dinner and cocktails.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: The people. It’s a great community.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Be friendly, smile and keep your sense of humor.
Venue: Cap’n Tobey’s
Years of Bartending Experience: 13. I started bartending when I was 18 in Mount Snow, Vt. during the Winter X Games, when ESPN took over the hotel.
Favorite Drink: I would have to consider myself a tequila connoisseur, but right now, I am totally obsessed with the Shelby Rose at Slip 14. It is a 888 vodka drink with a watermelon purée and rosemary simple syrup.
Signature Drink: The Deep Blue Fog. It is a Don Julio Margarita with Patron Citronge and a splash of Sprite topped off with 888 blueberry. It has been responsible for a few foggy nights
Best thing about being a bartender: One of my favorite nights bar- tending came this summer. It was Friday night of Memorial Day week- end. The place was packed, and when Nate Horton of the Bruins scored that goal with seven minutes left in game seven for the chance to play for the Stanley Cup the whole building shook! I think the whole island shook. Again, Game seven of the finals. When you stop and think, wow, I am actually witnessing history. And you look out on the 150-200 people sharing this moment with you. You think, deep down, hey ... I had something to do with this. I helped.
Worst thing about being a bartender: That same moment is also the worst thing about being a bartender. Those 150-200 people are looking back at you and thinking “why is she smiling and not getting me a drink?” And then you realize that every single one of them wants something from you. All you can do is make as many people happy as fast as possible.
Year-Round or Seasonal: I am currently year-round. This is my 10th summer. I wintered in Vermont; Mammoth and Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Vail, Colo.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and finally Nantucket.
Favorite day-off activity: Deep-sea fishing. I love to use one of our local charters. I especially love tuna-fishing because you get to see so many whales and dolphins. There’s something about bringing a plastic bag of fresh fish in the back door of the restaurant and feeding the whole family that is so ... Nantucket.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: The island grows up with you. There are so many things to offer someone young: the beaches and barbecues and the ice cream shops. Then when you’re in your early 20s, the parties and after-hours beach parties. Then as you mature, the amount of wonderful food and great restaurants and wine tastings.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: You have to remember, even in the height of the season, that everyone comes to the bar to have a good time. And it is our responsibility, maybe our duty, to show everyone a great time. Remember to smile and that we do this because we love it and if you are enjoying yourself, so will everyone else.
Years of Bartending Experience: 15
Favorite Drink: Fireball
Signature Drink: The Fat Elvis, a peanut butter-banana mudslide.
Best thing about being a bartender: Working on the patio with my friends.
Worst thing about being a bartender: Summer ends.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Year-round.
Favorite day-off activity: Golf or just hanging with the guys.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: The way people take care of each other.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Try a Fireball. You’ll love it.
Years of Bartending Experience: 2
Favorite Drink: Margarita on the rocks with salt
Signature Drink: Blood Orange Vodka Mojito – Sky Blood Orange Vodka, muddled mint, lime, fresh-squeezed blood-orange juice and soda water. On the rocks with a lime garnish.
Best thing about being a bartender: Being able to meet amazing people.
Worst thing about being a bartender: Getting out late.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Seasonal
What do you do in the winter? Ski in Lake Tahoe
Favorite day-off activity: Going to the beach with my dog Bella.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: Sunsets on Steps Beach.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Too much of anything is never a good thing.
Venue: Rose & Crown Pub
Years of Bartending Experience: 1
Favorite Drink: John Daly (Lemonade, iced tea and vodka)
Signature Drink: Goombay Smash – Light rum and coconut rum mixed with lots of juices and topped with a dark-rum float.
Best thing about being a bartender: Having fun at work and meeting lots of different people.
Worst thing about being a bartender: Dealing with annoying people.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Seasonal
What do you do in the winter? Go to school in Florida and soak up the sun.
Favorite day-off activity: Hitting the beach and grabbing a Juice Bar ice cream.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: I grew up here so I love returning in the summer and getting to see all my friends again, and of course our beautiful beaches.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Take care of your regulars!
Venue: The Chicken Box
Years of Bartending Experience: 12
Favorite Drink: Stoli with club soda and a lemon, simple and refreshing
Signature Drink: On Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. I set up a Bloody Mary Bar. People who like Bloodys are very passionate about them and usually have their own ideas about what makes a great one. I provide your choice of vodka and as many possible mixes, seasonings and garnishes as one could possibly think of and you use your imagination to create your own recipe.
Best thing about being a bartender: Being social and meeting new people.
Worst thing about being a bartender: Sometimes you have to be the bad guy.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Year-round.
Favorite day-off activity: Being lazy, whether it’s relaxing at the beach, watching movies, or visiting my friends’ bars while they are working.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: The small-town feel and beautiful scenery.
Bartending Tip from a Pro: Don’t give tips, get them!
Venue: LoLa 41
Years of Bartending Experience: 12
Favorite Drink: Margarita
Signature Drink: Excuse me Dr. Hotpants – Vodka, infused mint, kaffir lime, Thai chilis, a splash of lime, lemon juice and coconut water.
Best thing about being a bartender: Enjoying the island during the day and being a part of it all at night.
Worst Thing about being a bartender: No drawbacks.
Year-Round or Seasonal: Year-round. In the winter, I work at LoLa but take trips. I recently went wine-tasting in Italy and hiking in New Zealand. I also dabble in real estate in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Day-off Activity: A little exercise, a little play. Everything in moderation of course.
Favorite thing about Nantucket: The vitality of the island not only in the summer, but year-round.
Bartending Tip From A Pro: A third martini is never a good idea. However, if venturing intrepidly forward, request the check and sign immediately.