Mojitos are pretty much the patron drink of South Florida. And why wouldn't they be? They're refreshing on a hot day, freaking delicious, and were invented 90 miles away from Key West -- we would've tried to figure out the exact distance, but math just isn't our thing.
The only problem with the mojito equation: Most bartenders hate them. They're time-consuming and easy to screw up, and once one person orders one, it spreads like a wildfire.
However, there is one local bartender known for his exceptional minty, sugary rum drinks, Manny Alayeto of Dada Restaurant & Lounge.
We decided to chat with the master mojito maker to find out more about his favorite spirit, strangest drink orders, and favorite drink to make.
Clean Plate Charlie: Hometown/High School?
Alayeto: Caracas, Venezuela, and then Culver Military Academy, Culver, Indiana.
How long have you been in South Florida?
How long have you been in the industry?
About eight years.
I knew I wanted to be a bartender when _______.
When I decided to make music my career choice.
Favorite drink to make?
Jack Daniel's Passion Fruit Margarita. I love to turn people onto whiskey in any way possible.
Least favorite drink to make?
Anything frozen: You can't really taste your drink.
Strangest drink requested?
Someone once asked me for a white Cabernet.
What's your favorite spirit?
Whiskey, scotch -- single malts: It's what I'm into.
What's your favorite thing to drink after work?
Jameson on the rocks. It relaxes me after a long shift.
What is your favorite place to drink after work?
Dada, because it is the best place in town.
What's the best pick-up line you've heard at the bar?
"Let's head back to my place so you can do my dishes while I play videogames and eat chips."
"I lost my number... Can I get yours?"
If someone comes in and orders a _____, you instantly think _____ about them.
White Zinfandel; Really??
Biggest pet peeve while working?
Do not rush me to come over if you have no idea what you want to order.
Who is your favorite local bartender?
Amanda Toscano at Park Tavern and Monica Taddeo; they are amazing, knowledgeable, and friendly.
If I wasn't a bartender, I would be a ______.
Bar owner and artist.
Favorite kind of bar customer?
Friendly people that know what they want and are good tippers.
Least favorite kind of bar customer?
People that love to complain about everything.
If you could make a drink for anyone, who would it be? And which drink do you think would suit them?
I would make them [anyone] a drink that compliments what they are eating. If they are not eating, I would suggest a whiskey drink, because it is what I'd drink.
Favorite thing about bartending?
I'm always meeting great new people.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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