Maybe we’re overstating our intuitive instincts, but here’s a prediction: summer 2018 will be the season of cocktails. Craft beer had its due, and rosé—while delicious—has enjoyed its time in trend. Cocktails, whether classic, new, or old fashioned with a twist, are here to stay. And we couldn’t be more excited. We consulted local bartenders about our premonition and sipped on their ice-cold advice and stiff recommendations.
Nikki Hurtsellers | Barr’s Public House
Bartending for 10 years.
Bartending is my dream job. It’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I’ve been in the restaurant industry since high school and it’s just always what I wanted to do. I love making cocktails, I like
drinking and talking to strangers.
-1oz carpano antica formula vermouth
-3/4oz Fernet Branca
-Half a lemon, juiced
-Two dashes Anguostura bitters
-One egg white
-Topped with ginger beer
-Garnish with a few drops of bitters and toasted lemon peel
This drink has bitter flavors that are super popular right now. It’s different from others and it settles the tummy after eating.
Erin Smith | Bar Louie
First year bartending.
I think bartending is fun; it’s different everyday. Making the drinks and trying drinks–I enjoy it. You get a lot of people that are coming into drink, hang out and stay for awhile, so you get more of a laid back, kind of fun crowd.
-1 1/4oz SKYY Pineapple
-3/4oz PAMA Liqueur
-1/2oz pomegranate syrup
-1oz pineapple juice
-Fresh-cut pineapple slice
This is one of our most popular cocktails. It’s one of my favorites and it’s a summer drink. It goes down smooth, you can barely taste the alcohol.
John Jacob | Mancy’s Italian
Bartending for 27 years.
I love bartending because I love the people. I love the ability to create, to express myself through the drinks and through the product that I’m using.
-1.5oz Carpano Antica Formula
-1.5oz La Guita Manzanilla
-A couple dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
-Stirred, not shaken
This is a nice, clear drink that rounds out the flavors and has a low percentage of alcohol by volume.
Aldo Ballester | Carlos Poco Loco
Bartending for 7-8 years.
I like that bartending is never boring. You socialize with everyone, and get to meet a lot of people everyday. We change people’s lives; we provide not only drinks, but ourselves, by listening to them, give them some advice.
Classic Strawberry Daiquiri
-1oz Havana Club Rum
-1oz Heart of Glass Strawberry Vodka by Toledo Spirits
-3/4oz lime juice
-½oz simple syrup made with organic brown sugar
-3 whole strawberries
This drink is great for summer and we’re supporting local companies like Toledo Spirits. We don’t use any mix that has any preservatives or anything like that. We make it as organic as we can.
Marissa Castilleja | Funny Bone
First year bartending.
One thing I love about bartending is the atmosphere. The people who come here are unique and there’s a variety of people that come through.
-Equal parts Smirnoff vodka/rum
-Blue raspberry syrup
-Topped with Malibu and Bacardi 151
This drink is one of our most popular. Once someone brings it out and all the other tables see it, everybody orders it.
Matt McComish | Mancy’s Ideal
Bartending for five years.
I love bartending for my regulars and other people. I like the history of bartending because it’s kind of like hip hop; everyone samples off of each other. Some people call it stealing, some people call it inspiration. Everyone’s being influenced by the people before them.
-¾oz pomegranate liqueur
-¾oz sweet vermouth
-1.5 oz Prosecco
-Garnish with orange
This drink means “mistake” and in the past, was made with negroni wine instead of gin. It ended up becoming a happy accident.
Matt Waldfogel | Benchmark Restaurant
Bartending for 19 years.
I love the creativity of bartending. I spent a lot of time not really diving into the craft all the way and then, probably seven years or so ago, I wanted to learn and get better at what I was doing so I started studying up. You’re creating something that’s sort of an extension of you.
-2oz Herradura tequila
-1/4oz dry curacao
-3 drops of Bittermens hopped grapefruit
-Topped with a flamed grapefruit rose
We didn’t want to do something that was so crazy and off the wall but, at the same time, this drink is different from what a lot of other people are doing. It’s stuff that’s readily available in the Toledo market. It’s a different take on stuff you can do.
Deborah Walken | Mancy’s Steakhouse
Bartending since the age of 21.
I like bartending because I like meeting new people. It’s like going out but getting paid for it.
-Splash of soda
-Your choice of bourbon
Bourbon is popular right now and this is one of our more popular drinks.
Nichole “Cole” Miller | Doc Watson’s
Bartending for 14 years.
With bartending, there’s something different daily, there’s no monotony to it. The people, too. There’s so many customers that became second family to me.
Cole’s Hangover Cure
-Long pour orange vodka
-Equal parts pineapple juice
-Served in a pint glass
This drink pumps Vitamin C, gets your blood flowing right away and now it’s a trend, everyone loves it, especially on Sundays.
Aaron Parker | Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi
Bar Manager since January.
I love interacting with guests, making drinks, and making sure everyone has a great experience.
Wasabi Bloody Mary
-A1 Worcestershire sauce
-Mr. And Mrs. T’s Premium Blend
-Ball Of wasabi
-Celery salt rim
-Garnished with bleu cheese stuffed olives, green olives, lemon, lime and cocktail shrimp
This drink gives a Japanese twist to a classic cocktail. Add the wasabi and the soy sauce, gives it that flavor we like to offer.
Christina Hartman | Oliver House/Maumee Bay Brewing Co.
Bartending for eight years.
I like meeting different people. Bartending changes every single day; I don’t come to work and fill the same form… and I love booze.
-1.25oz Belvedere Peach Vodka
-Build in pint glass, add ice, then fill with Buckeye beer
-Top with a splash of orange juice
We are a brewery and the oldest running brewery in Toledo at this point. Beer cocktails are super popular right now. It has a little more punch than a regular beer.
Logan Anderson | Registry Bistro
Bartending for three years.
I like that bartending allows me to use a creative part of my mind. It’s like delivering happiness. It’s nice to be at work and then also enjoying spending time with people.
-2oz Havana Club rum
-.5oz velvet falernum
-Seltzer (served in a Collins glass finished with seltzer)
This is a light and refreshing summer cocktail with an interesting twist. It’s got a creaminess and bubbly quality as well. It has a lot of levels.
Justin Carnes | Rocky’s Bar
Bartending for 20 years.
What I like about bartending is superiority… ‘Hey, I have booze and you don’t…NOW GIVE ME MONEY!!!’”
Rocky’s Ruby Red Martini
-1oz Smirnoff Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka
-splash of sour mix
You wouldn’t believe some of the other ‘potions’ these characters around here were trying to whip up. So, this drink is a necessity.
Ashley Baer | Basil Pizza and Wine
Bartending for two years.
What I like about bartending is that I love being able to mix things together, try new things, and I love that here at Basil we make everything fresh and basically from scratch.
-Dash of cherry bitters
-2oz of Bulleit Rye
-1oz Barolo Chinato
-Add ice and stir
-Pour over ice and top with cherry garnish
This drink is like your classic cocktail that everyone loves, but it’s our personal take on it.