LOCAL Houston | The City Guide August 2016 - Page 29

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE SARAH CUNEO Bartender at ANVIL Has anyone ever ordered a real off-the-wall drink? My guests have always asked me to help them find the perfect cocktail for their mood and preference that day, and it’s a welcome challenge. Recently, I had a young woman approach me and ask for a very specific combination of ingredients that I had never thought to combine. The drink turned out exactly as she wanted it: Haitian rum, coconut, honey and lemon juice, shaken and served up. I even dusted a little fresh nutmeg on top! Photography by Alex Negranza Do customers really seek out bartenders to be their therapists? Most bartenders have a deep, diverse well of experience with people. I’d say more often than not guests feel more comfortable sharing things with their bartender after one or two libations. Almost without exception it’s our responsibility to be objective in our support and to make people feel comfortable and happy while they’re sitting at our bar. What has this trade taught you that translates into your personal life every day? Bartending has taught me to be patient. I have been bartending for nine years now, and this is a trade that takes a long time to become proficient at. Even when I was working for a small mom-andpop Italian restaurant in the suburbs, it was difficult for me to earn my position behind their bar, but I’ve got my stripes now! General Manager, THE PASTRY WAR Is it harder for a woman to succeed as a bartender than a man? I have seen a lot of double standards imposed on female bartenders. Not being allowed to close because they will be alone at the bar at night, or someone immediately carrying a case of beer and not letting me do it. One of my favorite things is to break stereotypes. I think it is harder for a female to succeed in the world of craft bartending. I cannot speak of other facets of the bar industry, as I have only experienced higher-end restaurant bartending and bartending at a mezcaleria. As a woman, you have to make sacrifices to move up in this world. You have to hide your emotions and harden your resolve. Starting in the back of the house [kitchen] helped me form a very tough mental skin. I will work longer and harder than everyone else. I like to prove that I can work and bartend circles around my Y chromosome peers. It is sad that my biggest fear is what I am going to do when I want to start a family. Is that even possible with my job? Have you invented a signature cocktail? I have created so many cocktails in my career. I get tickled pink when I go to a restaurant I used to work at and so many of my drinks are still on the menu. I like that I get to keep creating new things – out with the old, in with the “OMG, this is crazy good!” Has anyone ever ordered a real off-the-wall drink? There are always weird ones, but the one that sticks ][^HZ[\HX[H]Bܙ\YHHو\ۙH ؝[\Hš[\\K[H\Y܈H\وXH[YH[p))[[YYYXB[Y][H\و\ˈH[[[Y[X\Hۈ\]x&\XKܘ\HH[YHY\RSS\\HH[Z[[H[\[\B[HۈH]܏’x&]HX\Y[[ۜو\H[[HZ[H^Y[ˈY\\H\Kx&[HXYBX]\H\H[X[\[H[\H™YX]H^\[[ܙHۈB]8&\[\[[\Z[•H[ MK X\\]\HYX\\H]B\H\]Y\ MHB