Going 10 Rounds With Bartender Christina Cabrera
The talented Northern California bartender tackles our speed round of questions.
What’s your end of a shift drink? “A glass of rose wine.”
What’s the all-time best dive bar juke box song? “This one was a tough one, but I would have to say Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September.’”
What drink should be banished and why? “At this point in my career and working in a neighborhood bar with hospitality being the main focus, I really do not mind making any drink. But, I will charge you $18 for a LIT (Long Island Iced Tea).”
What’s the first good drink you ever had and where did you have it? “The first cocktail I remember having was a Negroni. It was 10 years ago and I had just moved to San Francisco. We were at 15 Romolo, where I eventually started my career as a bartender.”
Ever appropriate for a customer to ask for more olives for a Martini? “Of course. But there is a limit. Olives are not meant to be treated like a meal or snack.”
Do you ever drink cocktails with a meal? “I usually have a 50/50 Beefeater or Grey Goose Martini to start off the dining experience, but I am a traditionalist and love drinking wine with dinner.”
What drink are you most proud of creating? “It would have to be The Great Pumpkin. I was told it was hard to create a pumpkin cocktail that wouldn’t be considered a dessert drink. Or, no one would order a second. Nowadays pumpkin is overused and expected during the fall season but this was five years ago. I added whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon juice, a dash of cayenne and chocolate bitters, and it became the best-selling cocktail of the season.”
What’s your favorite shot and a beer combination? “Modelo and Tequila Ocho Plata.”
What’s the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “My jigger, for sure. When I am bartending it never comes out of my hand.”
Christina Cabrera is lead bartender at San Francisco bar Wildhawk, which was a finalist for the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New American Cocktail Bar this year.