When I go out solo for a few bevies, I am always happy to see a woman behind the bar. From my experience, they are somewhat more engaging and aware when another woman is sitting alone at her bar. That same feeling came over me as I sat in Bistro Aix and talked with Stani Rokvic about her journey into bar life; I found her a most engaging and exciting woman, she shared her thoughts and experiences about bar life.
How long have you been bartending?
For a year and a half, not very long. The way I came to bartending was I started as a busser and cleaning tables, and worked my way up to the waitress position, then cocktail waitress and finally, I was allowed behind the bar.
How many bartending jobs have you had? Where was your first job?
I’ve had a total of three bartending jobs. My first job was in a small Italian restaurant in New York, City a fine dining establishment where the people mostly drank Martinis or wine, so I was not able to develop my cocktail skills. Then I had an opportunity to move to a cocktail bar, and that is where I was trained and ready to build my skills.
What turns you on about bartending?
The unlimited possibilities to create, it is important to me to express myself whether it is writing or other means like learning about spirits and drinks and then creating a new cocktail on my own is gratifying. Another thing, I love about bartending is the people, I am regularly exposed to all different types of people, and know I can learn something from every single person I meet.
How do you feel about the term “Mixologist”? Do you consider yourself one?
Yes, if I were in New York, I probably would call myself a mixologist, because it set you in an entirely different group. I don’t think names are that important, what is important is the quality of service you will provide. Mixology is very interesting and fun, but an establishment like Bistro Aix, a bartender will offer more than a mixologist; there is so much more to bartending than just making drinks.
What do you enjoy most about Bistro Aix?
A lot of things first would be my collogues they are a great group of people. Another thing I like is the freedom to make any drink that comes to mind, we have a robust bar program, with many local beers and spirits available to use.
What were you going for when you created the cocktail list? What is your favorite?
I’m still feeling out the clientele here; everywhere you go there is a different vibe, and that’s what I have to identify. There is a lot to take into consideration, is it a pre-dinner cocktail or after dinner drink, or a drink for just sitting at the bar. Also, what is the season or particular holiday time, that needs a particular beverage?
What are your favorite cocktails to make, and why?
The Woodford Workhorse a tasty whiskey cocktail served in a Mule glass. It’s a twist on the Moscow Mule. We will be changing our menu soon, but that is a house favorite so it will stay on the cocktail list.
What spirit is the sexiest to you? Why?
Whiskey makes a beautiful drink like the Manhattan; it is a classic cocktail and something you can’t go wrong with; they are called classic for a reason. Drinks like Old Fashioned or Manhattan enhance the flavor of the liquor.
For you what spirit is the most versatile?
I can work with any spirit, right now I am working with Vodka and Tequila to create new drinks.
What do you think sets your drinks apart from the others?
I would say it’s a personality thing, coming from Europe where drinking and dining habits are entirely different than in the U.S.; I bring that background to my drinks when I am creating.
If I asked you to make me a cocktail with no limitations, what pops into your head?
I would have to ask a few questions; what do you like, what do you usually drink and do you want to try new things?
The outcome was indeed a craft cocktail adventure. Two drink so new, made for this occasion remain nameless. If you choose to make these drink at home, give it the name that appeals to you.
1oz. Marlin and Barrel Smoked Pepper Vodka
1 oz. Simple Syrup
¾ oz. Lime Juice
Shake and dress with Cilantro.
The smokiness in the vodka was quite noticeable and balanced well with the cilantro sprig. A savory cocktail was quite refreshing and pleasing to drink.
Someone joined me at the bar, and that resulted in a bonus cocktail. Staini once again wowed us with her ability to select spirits and blend them into a delicious and satisfying cocktail.
1 1/2 Mescal
½ oz Ginger Liqueur
¾ oz Simple Syrup
¾ oz Lime Juice
Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
Shake pour into a salt-rimmed glass.
I am new to Mescal, the smokiness of the spirit surprises and pleases me.
Stop into Bistro Aix and have Stani make you your special drink as she did for us. I think you will be pleased.