Loca Bartender of the Moment
Name: Rachel Ann Strauss aka La Bartender Loca
Roots: Dominican & Jewish American
Where do you live?: Brooklyn, NY
Shakin’ and stirrin’ since: Got my Mixologist Certification in August 2002. I love bartending. It’s hard work and you must have excellent hand-eye coordination to succeed at it (although Ive broken many-a-glass!), but I think it’’s a great way for one to get that in-the-club experience, surrounded by fun people, good music and all while getting paid for it!
Where/when : One Friday evening a month at Prey Lounge – 4 West 22nd Street and every Saturday night at Lea Lounge 230 Park Avenue NYC
Loca’s Coconut Mojito
Crush mint leaves, 3 lime wedges, and a sprinkle of sugar then shake with ice, Bacardi Coco, Lime Juice, and a splash of club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge
What do you do when customers are mean or don’t tip? Spit or something?
Although I believe my saliva to be sweet-tasting, I wouldn’t spit in someone’s drink (unless I’m requested to baby…Ha! Ha!). If I see a customer acting rude or mean, I usually like to add humor to the situation.Â If I see I’m not getting tipped, I’ll stand in front of that person smiling and wipe down the bar with my bare hand (sarcastically searching for the tip he or she was supposed to leave me).
Biggest tip you ever got: $50 after serving one guy (who was unquestionably on a first date with this chick) 3 rounds of drinks. I like to think it was because of my generosity and smile, but I believe it to be the "Big-tipper tactic" used by many men to impress their dates.
Describe a recent fun nighty: I truly enjoy most nights that I bartend. I love hearing Latin music, and being able to shake my thing a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ behind the bar with my coworkers. However, a really fun night that stands out was my best friend’s birthday back in May, at the bar I work at.
It was so delightful to look up after making each drink, and see my friends enjoying their night, smiling and laughing. It’s a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so many fun-loving people. I think being amongst a crowd like this is how most bartenders get the energy and motivation to survive their long strenuous nights.
When not working… I recently celebrated my 26th birthday on the outdoor rooftop of Club Exit, also known as The Sky Loft. It has gorgeous Cubano-style decor and reminds me of South Beach, Miami. On Fridays, DJ’s play the best salsa, merengue, bachata, hip hop, reggae, and reggaeton.
What do people don’t know about bartenders? Uggg, here’s my chance to vent! Okay; fellas, we don’t respond to "Hey Ma!", "Yo shorty!" , "Sexy, come here", "Pssst, mira!" or anything to that affect.
Also, people, the bar is not a deli counter! We don’t always know exactly who gets to the bar in what order. Please be patient…for the more obnoxious you get, the less liquor goes in your drink (wink wink).
Some people also may not understand that there must be over 1000 drink recipes out there, guess what…we don’t know all of them!
Also, after a night of bartending, the thumb and index finger of my left hand is usually stained Maraschino-cherry red, and my clothes usually smell from the immense number of small splashes each corona emits while being opened. One last thing: sometimes a bartender has to take a pee-pee break too. Overall, it’s a tougher job than many think…but I STILL LOVE IT!
What’s a cosmopolatino anyway? The new wave of young Latinos sweeping across this country: We are vivacious, well-informed, and connected to our roots whilw simultaneouslyÂ linked to our American Latino culture.Â