The drinks are chilled but the competition is heating up. Dave Ebert, bartender at Copperhill American Kitchen and Tap Room since October 2015, was voted as one of three Cocktail Rumble finalists. The Cocktail Rumble, sponsored by Ravo Vodka, will go down at Pulse’s Island Tasting event to benefit Island Harvest on Nov. 9 at the Mansion at Oyster Bay. Fairly new to the bartending business, Ebert is prepared for the showdown.
How does it feel to be nominated for the Cocktail Rumble?
It’s awesome. I haven’t been doing this for too long. I started bartending about two years ago…To be considered as one of Long Island’s best is an honor.
Have you ever done something like this before?
This is my first competition. I’m just going to do what I can and put up drinks that I’m proud of. I actually know [one of the other competitors] Doug Brickel and we talked a little bit about what we’re planning on doing in the competition.
What got you into bartending?
It kind of happened by accident. I’ve been in the industry for nine years as a server, and I learned a little bit about bartending by working the lunch shift. When I first started, I made a woman a Moscow mule and she actually sent it back. I like making things, and I was crushed. I went all out after that and it has been a rabbit hole of learning.
Scenario: A customer wants a drink but the bar is crowded. What should the customer do?
When the bar is crowded, we do have a general idea of who is where in the queue. I would say be patient and be kind. Snapping fingers and waving glasses is rude and people should understand that it takes a few minutes to build a good drink.
Do you have a favorite cocktail?
When I’m out somewhere that I know I can get a good cocktail, my favorite thing to order is a Rittenhouse Manhattan.
What are some tips on pairing food and cocktails?
A general rule of thumb is gin for fish and whiskey or bourbon for red meat.
Island Tasting gives back to Island Harvest. Why is this such a worthy cause?
Long Island has a crazy amount of inequality. We have places like the Gold Coast but at the same time we also have people who are starving. I’m happy to help the cause to end that.