How long have you been bartending and how did you get started?
I have been bartending for just over 1 1/2 years. I got started because I was unhappy with my day job at the time. I needed to change the direction my life was headed, and all I knew was that I wanted to do something fun, challenging, and creative. In the meantime, I started applying to a few bars around town to make some cash. In hindsight, I got WAY too specific in that I really only applied to bars I thought would match the style of bartending I wanted to do. With no prior experience and no knowledge on how to work behind a bar, I got really, really lucky, and Kim from The Hamilton decided to take a chance and put me behind the bar. Within the first week of learning techniques and making those first few cocktails, I realized this was something really special and I wanted to be apart of it as much as I could.
What is your favorite bar right now?
My favorite bar is probably whatever bar I go to with people I care about. I think that sounds super cheesy, but true. After having listed a bunch of bars and giving reasons why I frequent them, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a high percentage of bars from the swanky craft cocktail joints to your basic hole in the wall corner bars have a purpose, or something that draws people to them, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. I find myself in a lot of them and really having a great time.
Although, I should mention that I do not enjoy being hungover. So wherever I go, I like to make sure that whatever I am drinking (beer, wine, or cocktails) is well-made with good ingredients, and no extra shit, that might cause me to not enjoy my morning coffee, or my barking dogs.
Where can readers find your drinks?
Right now, I am the Bar Manager/Lead Bartender at The Hamilton on the Lower East Side of Milwaukee. I am also pulling a Sunday night shift at Goodkind in Bayview. You can find me at either place and I’d be more than happy to make you something, on or off menu.
What is one piece of advice you have for home cocktail enthusiasts?
Have fun, get weird, don’t take yourself too seriously. I love mozzarella cheese, and thought it could be a fun ingredient in a cocktail. My girlfriend on the other hand, thought I should be admitted. So we joked around, and tried different variations and ways to use the cheese within the drink, and came up with something that tastes surprisingly delicious.
What is a memorable moment from your bartending career?
This past January I had made it to the finals of a Manhattan Cocktail Competition in Manhattan, NY. I got to make and serve some of the people in the bartending community that I really admire and respect, as well as hang out and talk nonsense with them. It was a great time.
Tripper’s Recipe: Margherita
1.5 mozzarella infused Rehorst Gin*
2 cherry tomatoes and 2 medium sized basil leaves.
1 ED Bittercube Bolivar
Salt + Pepper Mixture*
Rim Coupe glass with Salt and pepper mixture, add ice to glass and set aside. Muddle tomatoes and 1 basil leaf with bolivar bitters, add other ingredients. Shake well. Discard ice from glass and double strain cocktail into chilled glass. Enjoy.
Garnish: Basil leaf, with house Salt+pepper Rim.
* infuse 8 oz of Mozzarella cheese of choice (preferably Wisconsin made) to 750ml of gin. let stand for roughly 48 hours.
* add equal parts Paradise seed and Black lava salt to grinder. Grind until almost dust consistency.