Behind the Bar at Industry Standard

Welcome to Behind the Bar(tender), a series in which Long Island Pulse, thirsty for great conversation and even better cocktails, meets with the Island’s most talented bartenders.

Charmaine Strange
Head bartender, Industry Standard in Greenport

Favorite thing about working behind a bar:
Being able to be use my sass for good and not evil.

Least favorite thing about working behind a bar:
Shitty tippers, finger snappers and people who assume I can’t mix a drink because I’m female. Occasionally you get that holy trinity in one patron.

Define the perfect cocktail:
One that evokes a memory or an emotion.

Weirdest drink request you’ve ever gotten:
“Can you make me something delicious with this?” while being handed a packet of Crystal Light.

Your inspiration:
Life in general is pretty inspiring, but my colleagues and peers on the East End. We have an amazing talent pool out here doing fantastic things in the community and it’s tough not to feel like a total hack in comparison.

Describe your cocktail list:
It’s reflective of the kooky personalities behind the bar and the cool food we do here…Greg Ling, the chef and owner, really just does whatever he wants and we all vibe on that energy and riff off each other…I make an effort to be different than the other 10 cocktail spots in town while also avoiding getting too esoteric or douchey with our drinks. I go very tongue-in-cheek with the names. One of my most popular winter drinks when we first opened was the Dickel Tickle, which was George Dickel Rye whiskey, Jager and lemon juice. It’s sometimes easier to get people to drink something they would never try if they’re having a giggle at the name.

Favorite drink to mix:
The right drink for the person sitting across from me; There’s no greater joy than nailing someone’s taste preferences. Oh and smashes: They’re fruity, refreshing and the possibilities are limitless. You can pretty much make a smash with whatever you have lying around.

One thing you wish would disappear from drink lists forever:
Just one thing? Frosé. 

The best piece of bartending advice you’ve ever received:
“Work clean and give them a show.”

If you could mix a drink for one person, dead or alive:
Pablo Escobar, just for the stories.

Favorite thing to do when you’re not drinking or drink making:
Ironman Triathlons. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Your favorite bar and why:
Close to home, it’s Brix & Rye…And abroad I’d say The Bar at The Dorchester in London or Star Bar Ginza in Tokyo.

Best thing you ever drank:
Sullivan’s Cove French Oak whisky neat, fireside, with an old friend reminiscing about days gone by.

Worst thing you ever drank:
Malibu and milk. In my defense, I was 14 and it was the ’90s.

First time you got drunk:
See above. I drove the porcelain bus for 24 hours.

If your bar shifts had a theme song:
Solange’s “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work” or “I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)” by Grace Jones.

After a shift, you drink:
Mezcal, rocks. I’ve used up all my drink tickets on just about every other spirit. Here’s hoping this one will get me through the rest of my life.

Signature Drink | Pannetone
Pannetone is one of my favorite indulgences during the holiday season so I made a cocktail that tastes like the festive Italian bread. The bread itself is a fluffy, yeasty bread with dried fruits and almond paste. I tried to get that same profile using an añejo tequila that has butterscotch and caramel notes, and combining it with the sweet but tart pineapple juice and the vanilla-cinnamon simple syrup. It’s a holiday beverage that’s not too rich and easy to drink. I think I put on 10 pounds drinking these suckers because just like the bread, it’s delicious.

Ingredients: (1 serving)
1 1/2 oz of Casa Noble Añejo tequila
2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz vanilla-cinnamon syrup (see below)
Lemon juice, to top
Garnish: candied orange and an Amarena cherry

Directions:
1) Combine all ingredients, except the lemon juice, in a mixing tin and shake with ice.
2) Strain into a coupe over ice.
3) Top with a splash of lemon juice and garnish with candied orange and an Amarena cherry.

Vanilla-Cinnamon Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain, bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

niko krommydas

Niko Krommydas has written for Tasting Table, BeerAdvocate, Munchies, and First We Feast. He is editor of Craft Beer New York, an app for the iPhone, and a columnist for Yankee Brew News. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.