Broward County has a booming beer scene, some great wine bars, and great restaurants all over the place, but in the mixology department there is much left to be desired.
While we might be behind in the availability of craft cocktails compared to other cities -- our nemesis Miami being one -- we still have some great options; they're just fewer and further between.
One of the leading cocktail programs in Fort Lauderdale can be found at Steak 954 in the base of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel . We figured if you're going to talk to anyone about mixed drinks, you want to get the details from the bartenders there.
With that we spoke to Steak 954's Jake Berkey about red wine and diet coke, his favorite customers, and his favorite local bartender.
Clean Plate Charlie: Where are you from?
Berkey: Howell, Michigan; here since 1999. I've been in the industry 14 years.
I knew I wanted to be a bartender when I moved to Florida.
Favorite drink to make?
Cucumber caipiroksa; people enjoy it.
Least favorite drink to make?
Mojitos; everyone's "sweetness palate" is different.
Strangest drink requested?
Red wine and diet coke: strange combo.
What's your favorite spirit?
Whiskey, I like the versatility and complexity.
What is your favorite place to drink after work?
I like ROK BRGR; it has a great beer selection and food.
What's the best pick-up line you've heard at the bar?
"That's a nice dress. Can I take you out of it?"
"Do you come here often?"
If someone comes in and orders a Bloody Mary, you instantly think rough night.
Biggest pet-peeve while working?
I hate when people tap their glass to get my attention.
Who is your favorite local bartender?
Kelly Johnson at ROK BRGR; she always provides friendly service.
If I wasn't a bartender, I would be a cyclist.
Favorite kind of bar customer?
I like people who are friendly and open-minded, people who like to try new things and willing to let me try to create the perfect cocktail for their individual wants.
Least favorite kind of customers?
Close-minded complainers; they take all the wind out of your sail.
If you could make a drink for anyone, who would it be? And what do you think would suit him or her?
The President; single-malt scotch, neat.
Favorite thing about bartending?
I get to create and invent new material to work with and I get to meet people from all over the world.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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