Drinking the water these days seems like a dangerous proposition, better stick to liquor. And when it comes to Toledo liquor, there are no better experts than this collection of bartenders, booze hounds and retailers. So pull up a stool and dip into the bar peanuts, while these whistle wetters spill their secrets. On second thought, avoid the peanuts too.
Breann G. Forkapa
5333 Monroe St. | 419-841-0066
Current obsession: Our urban garden where I can pull fresh ingredients like chocolate mint and micro radishes.
Nickname: “Oh, ‘Brie!’ Like the cheese!”
Signature drink: “Acquisition” (House made aquavit/Cynar/Celery bitters/juniper and peppercorn).
How do you know they’re on a blind date? When they get to the part they realize they don’t like the same music. It’s painful.
Most telling drink order: A rare bourbon served neat.
Make a drink for any person fictional or real: I would serve Earnest Hemingway a daiquiri.
Worst drinking trend: Sour mix.
(In the Oliver House) 27 Broadway St.
419-243-1302 | mbaybrew.com
Sage bartender advice: It’s alright if you don’t know everything. It’s always better to be honest than to be disingenuous— customers always see through that.
Most telling drink order: A whiskey sour. You’re either old and set in your ways, or you’re young and think whiskey sours are cool. (They’re not).
Strangest tip: $10 in Kohl’s cash. Seriously.
Make a drink for any person, fictional or real: Kurt Cobain. I would make him a drink called “Elixir of Invisibility”: Bombay Sapphire and St. Germain with grapefruit soda water and a lime wedge.
Do I need a muddler? Yes!
How do you know they’re on a blind date? Body language. Especially the hands: If they’re closed and kept in the lap, they’re just meeting each other.
Favorite bartending tool to use? A spoon.
Mancy’s Bluewater Grille
461 W. Dussel Dr., Maumee
419-724-2583 | mancys.com
Nickname: Dirty Thirty.
Strangest tip: A key card for a nearby hotel.
Favorite cocktail to make: Any classic bourbon cocktails. Sidecars, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, my “Single Barrel Cider.” I’m lucky to have the area’s VERY best bourbon selection at my disposal.
Make a drink for any person fictional or real: That’s easy! Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. The drink, “The White Russian” (2oz. low grade vodka/ 1oz. Kahlua or cheap coffee liqueur/ 1oz. questionable half and half). Served at a seedy bowling alley bar in L.A. “Careful man, there’s a beverage here!”
Favorite bartending tool: The channel knife and the vegetable peeler. We eat and drink with our eyes. Garnish is very important. Be creative. A simple piece of fruit can accompany a cocktail, but a properly done lemon twist or apple peel can really make it pop!
El Camino Real
2500 W. Sylvania Ave.
419-472-0700 | elcaminorealtoledo.com
Most outrageous pickup line you’ve heard from behind the bar: “Feel my shirt. What does it feel like? Does it feel like boyfriend material?”
Most telling drink order: Cognac. That means they’re full of energy and like hip hop.
Strangest tip: A coupon for McDonald’s— buy one Big Mac get one free.
Most overrated liquor: Patron is so overrated. There are higher qualities of tequila.
Worst drinking trend? Shots of Fireball. No need to say more.
How do you know they’re on a blind date? Fidgeting around with their drink and not eating much.
Favorite cocktail to make? Bloody Marys.
Flick’s Package Liquor
3320 Sterns Rd., Lambertville, MI
734-854-2000 | flicks4fun.com
Current obsession: Dirty martinis.
Most underrated liquor: Gin.
Most overrated liquor: Scotch.
Do you need a muddler? Sure, if you want to make a mojito.
Best liquor store story? We had a big Grey Goose display a few
years ago that fell. It was slow-motion sadness. We tried to get to it, but we didn’t make it.
Mancy’s Italian Grill
John B. Jacob
5453 Monroe St. | 419-882-9229
Sage bartender advice: Never order draft beer in a dive bar. There’s no telling when they had their draft lines cleaned, or how long a keg’s been on. Trust me! Order a High Life and a shot of whiskey instead.
Current obsession? Collecting all eight Blanton’s bottles. Each horse has a different pose and they spell out B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S. Currently, I have five. Still need the L, T, and S. If you have one of those letters on an unopened bottle, let’s talk!
Most telling drink order: A Harvey Wallbanger tells me that they are obviously a time traveler from the ‘70s.
Worst drinking trend? Millennials drinking less than the generations before them. C’mon, kids! You have some catching up to do!
Do I need a muddler? Not if you’re making a proper Old Fashioned. It’s a cocktail, not a fruit salad.
What is your nickname? JJ.
How do you know they’re on a blind date? When you overhear them asking basic questions about each other then inevitably start talking about their exes.
What’s the strangest tip/gratuity you’ve ever received? $627 on four 7 & 7’s. True story
Name five absolutely necessary items for the home bartender: Mixing glass, barspoon, Hawthorne strainer, Japanese jigger, “Craft of the Cocktail” by Dale Degroff
Most underrated liquor: Amaro Averna
Most overrated liquor: St. Germain. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful liqueur. It just seems like too many bartenders use it as a crutch.
Favorite cocktail to order? The “Boulevardier.” It’s a simple recipe with complex flavors. Hard to mess up and equal part drink with just three ingredients.
Favorite cocktail to make? Currently, it’s “The Paper Plane” which uses equal parts bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol and fresh lemon juice.
Favorite bartending tool to use? Hawthorne Strainer. Nothing like making a stirred and strained drink.
Barr’s Public House
3355 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee
419-866-8466 | barrspublichouse.com
How do you know they’re on a blind date? When one of them shows up early, refuses to order anything (from fear that the other won’t show up), and always says, “I’m waiting for someone,” all while sweating, intently staring at their phone.
Name five absolutely necessary items for the home bartender: A glass, ice, a liquor bottle of their choosing, ibuprofen and water for the next day. As a bartender who makes hundreds of intense craft cocktails, when I’m at home, I like to keep it simple.
Make a drink for any person, fictional or real: I’ve always looked up to and idolized Freddie Mercury. It just so happens that I have created a drink called the Sparkling Queen from our new cocktail list “Legends & Libations” in remembrance of the iconic singer/songwriter. Pretty sure it’s safe to say I would serve him that.
The recipe is as follows: ¾ oz. of Mandarin Vodka, ¾ oz of Watershed Lemon Peel Gin, ¼ oz. of Mango Puree, Half of a fresh squeezed lemon, splash of OJ, topped with Sparkling Moscato.
Favorite cocktail to order? Anything with gin in it. Gin is my guilty pleasure and I like to see what bartenders come up with.
Worst drinking trend? Alcoholic energy drinks… thanks, but no thanks.
What is your current obsession? Anything local, and of course hand-crafted. From cocktails, artwork and all the plating mastery of local chefs. We have a lot to offer here in Toledo, but you have to know where to look.
What is your nickname? Hefe’ is the only nickname that is suitable to repeat.
What is the best/worst pickup line you’ve ever heard from behind the bar? I haven’t heard any good ones, to be honest. I suppose the worst one is “Do I know you from somewhere? Oh, I remember, you’re the girl of my dreams!”
Most telling drink order: When a person orders a bourbon or scotch neat. This is someone who knows what they want and how to get it. The drink they order is the fruit of their labor. They want to savor it, sip it, and enjoy it without disturbing its intended flavor. Also, it takes a strong person to stomach a warm spirit with no mixer.
Finish this thought: “A guy walks into a bar…” Orders a drink, he is well-behaved, pay his tab, and tips 20% or above. Please and thank you.
What’s the strangest tip/gratuity you’ve ever received? The strangest tip I have ever received was a “Have you been saved?” pamphlet from a local church. I think they were trying to tell me something…
Most underrated liquor? Rum is the most underrated spirit and actually is said to be making a comeback in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more rum cocktails pop up that are far from a Mojito.
Most overrated liquor? Jägermeister is by far the most overrated liquor, or as many of us in the industry like to call it “Gag-ermeister”.
Favorite cocktail to make? I LOVE making margarita’s or any variation of them. My favorite included a jalapeno, cucumber, and mint. Cool, crisp, and refreshingly delicious with hint of spice.
Favorite bartending tool to use? Just a good old-fashioned paring knife. It is my bartending magic wand.
Do I need a muddler? Depends on the cocktail, but many tend to over-muddle when all they need to do is gently press the flavor additives together. There is a big difference from muddling ingredients and murdering them.
What’s your best bartending story? A couple came into the bar and I explained what we are all about. They felt overwhelmed by the array we had to offer. I simply said, “Do you trust me?” and they replied “Yes,” and I said “You should” with a smile. I made off-the-menu craft cocktails for them which they loved and have visited us ever since.
4020 Secor Rd. | 419-472-1996
Tia “T” Cherry
Most telling drink order: White Zin.
If you had to drink one cocktail for the rest of your life what would it be? Beer.
Justin “Ol’ Puss n’ Boots” Carnes
True Confession: Wouldn’t you
like to know?
Does Toledo have a signature cocktail? Gilhooley Grand Slam, daiquiris
Bryan “Captain Pickles” Badman
A guy walks into a bar… sits and orders his drink, pays, tips and was a complete gentleman.
Does Toledo have a signature cocktail? Is Boone’s Farm considered a cocktail?
Tina “Swede” Larson, Swedish
Sage bartender advice: Don’t drink and drive.
If you had to drink one cocktail for the rest of your life what would it be? Vodka and soda.
1515 S. Byrne Rd.
419-389-6003 | docwatsonstoledo.com
Name five absolutely necessary items for the home bartender: Shaker, jigger, bottle opener, glasses (rocks and shot), wine opener (and stopper).
Do I need a muddler? No, I’ve used two glasses— one that fits inside another.
Most telling drink order: Straight whiskey. I love these people. Super easy to serve and get along with. They know what they want and are usually just pretty awesome and tough people. Kudos!
Signature cocktail: My signature drink also makes a great shot! ¾ Jack Fire, ¼ butterscotch schnapps, a splash of Baileys Irish Cream and a splash of creamer.
Most overrated liquor: Fireball. It’s terrible!
How do you know they’re on a blind date? It’s always pretty obvious when a couple is on a blind/ internet date. Nobody really knows how to act or what to order. Relax! don’t be so nervous!
3302 Secor Rd. | 419-536-0471
Most underrated liquor? Don Julio.
Most overrated liquor? Tito’s Vodka.
Favorite cocktail to order? Latin Lover (Malibu rum, Midori, Creme de banane, peach schnapps, pineapple juice)
Favorite cocktail to make? Sex on the Beach.
Worst drinking trend? Margaritas.
Carlos Poco Loco
1809 Adams St. | 419-214-1655
Current obsession: To make Carlos Poco Loco the most successful restaurant in Northwest Ohio, providing excellent service, great food and the best margaritas in town.
Make a drink for any person, fictional or real: I grew up watching the 007 movies, and I remember every time he would go to a bar and asked the bartender for a drink it would be a “Dry Martini with a lemon peel, shaken not stirred.” That was the first drink I learned. I have also dreamed of making a mojito for Ernest Hemingway, because it was his favorite drink when he lived in Cuba.
Most underrated liquor: Tequila (Most people just see it as a party drink, to have a shot and that’s it, like for fun or to get tipsy. And it’s so much more than that, it’s such a fine Spirit, but gladly ever since we opened, we’ve been seeing more and more Toledoans come and enjoy its distinguished flavor and every day, more people appreciate it.
Favorite cocktail to make: Cuba Libre (It’s a classic Cuban drink made with light rum, Coca Cola and a fresh lime wedge. In our independence wars, it was what Cubans used to drink).
Favorite bartending tool: (A muddler to make mojitos (fresh limes, mint, sugar and light rum).
Favorite cocktail to order? Margarita (The mix of the fresh lime, lemon and orange juices with tequila and orange liqueur, it’s just delicious!
La Scola Italian Grill
5375 Airport Hwy. | 419-381-2100
What drink order tells you a lot about a person? White Zinfandel.
What is a sure giveaway that a couple in your bar is on a blind date and/or internet date? The guy always looks creepy.
What is the strangest tip/gratuity you’ve ever received? $200 gift card to Tiffany’s.
Worst drinking trend? Car bombs.
Favorite bartending tool to use? My voice.