Bartender Q&A: Christopher Hildebrandt of Pinon Grill on Flaring at Starbucks, Naked Ladies, and More
We have certain criteria for bartenders that don't necessarily extend across the board in the service sector.
Obviously, they need to be able to shake up a nice drink, but we kind of like some entertainment as well.
What can we say? We're jaded.
If you're looking for a damned good drink and some witty banter, you might want to check out this guy: Christopher Hildebrandt of Pinon Grill chats to us about flaring at Starbucks, Naked Ladies, and internet daters.
Clean Plate Charlie: Where are you from?
Hildebrandt: Lake Worth, Florida. I went to Lake Worth High School.
How long have you been in the industry?
I've been in the industry for ten years.
I knew I wanted to be a bartender when flaring at Starbucks became frowned upon.
Favorite drink to make?
Naked Lady: a combination of white rum, sweet vermouth, apricot brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice.
Least favorite drink to make?
Bloody Mary; outside of the Sunday brunch timeframe, Bloody Marys should never be considered an option.
Strangest drink requested?
Nothing surprises me anymore.
What's your favorite spirit?
Bourbon; it's is a southern man's take on whiskey and has been in play since the 18th century. It's roots are linked to a Baptist minister... the irony alone should be cause enough to drink it.
What's your favorite thing to drink after work?
Cold ale. After a long shift, a cold ale displays divine characteristics. More specifically, a Belgium ale, as they're less bitter than most pale ales.
What is your favorite place to drink after work?
I love what Sweetwater Bar & Grill is doing now.
What's the best pickup line you've heard at the bar?
There's no such thing as a good pickup line at a bar.
Every one of them!
If someone comes in and orders a Long Island Iced Tea, you instantly think This is the first time you're drinking, right?
Biggest pet peeve while working?
Snapping and whistling; this one seems pretty self-explanatory.
Who is your favorite local bartender?
Ray from Boca Blue Martini; he's a class act.
If I wasn't a bartender, I would be broke.
Favorite kind of bar customer?
Fun and witty people; they understand how life is to be lived. It's about good company, strong drinks, and endless amounts of laughter.
Least favorite kind of bar customer?
If you could make a drink for anyone, who would it be?
My grandfather, who was a bar owner. He owned a small, unsuccessful neighborhood bar in Lake Worth, maybe 20 seats. It was always his dream to simply own one, which explains it's unpopularity. I was nine when he passed away, so given the chance, I would have a bottle of Jameson's, two shot glasses, and one hell of a conversation.
Favorite thing about bartending? The revolving door of characters who find their way into my restaurant/bar.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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