You watch in awe as they carefully craft your cocktail with the precision and speed of a fighter pilot. Dressed to the nines, they barely break a sweat as they muddle, shake and strain to perfection. They are encyclopedias of cocktailia, as they can name every drink from an Aviation to a Zombie Punch. They are bartenders and they are the blood, sweat and tears of the cocktail revolution. So the question we all have is: when they put down the shaker and unstrap the suspenders, what do these superheroes behind the stick actually drink?
The Savory took to the best craft cocktail bars in Los Angeles to talk to some of our favorite, most talented bar chefs in order to find out just what it is that they order at the bar. Each week we will feature one of the nation’s top bartenders and their drink of choice.
This week, Save’s Fave is Alex Straus. To put it mildly, Alex is a force behind the bar. A New York native who was trained under the top mixologists in Manhattan, he towers like a defensive lineman at around 6’ 4”, and his love for cocktails is even larger than he is. Alex has a presence unseen by most while he carefully crafts his drinks. Alex’s mantra is simple, and one that The Savory subscribes to all day, erryday: “Always make sh#t fun.”
Straus, the Southern California “Sergeant at Arms” of the San Francisco-based Bon Vivants, says, “The state of cocktails is settling and becoming a staple in major cities. The great thing is it’s still in the excited phase in smaller markets.” Alex goes on to say, “In Middle America, they are slowly being introduced to fresh fruit cocktails.”
Whether he is roasting a pig for charity at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, reciting a Buddhist mantra, or crafting your cocktail behind the stick at Hemingways in Hollywood, Alex does everything with a passion. And that, my friends, makes for a great bartender.
What Does Your Bartender Drink?
Alex’s drink when on the other side of the bar, to no surprise, is a shot and a beer.
Alex Straus’ Recipe for Fun
2 oz shot of Tequila Ocho Plata
1 bottle of Miller High Life
Pour the shot. Tilt your head back and drink. Pop open the beer and enjoy. Repeat as necessary.