Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Abby

Abby is the kind of person who doesn’t waste time. She’s a hard worker with high standards of service and she doesn’t have time for anybody’s shit.

She’s worked everywhere, bartended in Virginia and Arizona. And is a great person to discuss the hiking trails around either destination. Seriously, we could not have hiked in Sedona without her suggestions and feedback. She can be laid back or all business, but working with her is always a pleasure.

IMG_2375.jpg

I stopped in to see her at one of her jobs, spending a Tuesday date night at Julep’s. She’s been there for four years, City Beach for two, and added Dot’s Back Inn to her repertoire as well. Abby, like many other of my industry friends, is never able to sit still for long.

She served us a delicious cocktail, told us why she loved working at Julep’s and the kind of people that work at a restaurant for over 16 years and what that means to her and to our industry. And she kindly answered our ten questions for our “Behind the Bar” series, adapted from James Lipton. Her answers are below:

  1. What is your favorite word?

    Shots.

  2. What is your least favorite word?

    Cardio.

  3. If you had a super power what would it be?

     To be able to speak every language in the world.

  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    Rye Manhattan, on the rocks, with an orange twist

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    Miller Lite, unless I’m being fancy then some cool gose.

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    I’m not going to say because my mom will probably read this, but I love yelling “rats” or “fiddlesticks” out when an expletive is appropriate. Really throws people off. 

  7. What sound or noise do you love?

    The sound of an empty bar at 2 am

  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    The lawnmower outside my apartment window at 7am after a close. 

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Winemaker. (In Italy, duh)

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    “Who, being loved, is poor?” - Oscar Wilde 

Abby took the cocktail right off the menu for us, she said it was a winner and she was absolutely correct. So this week- if you’re interested in a cocktail we highly suggest stopping in at Julep’s to try the El Guapo.

IMG_2381.jpg

1800 Silver Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, Egg White, Langlois Per et Fils Cassis, & Fresh Blackberries. Up with a Lime Twist and just sheer perfection.

IMG_2379.jpg


Abby is definitely worth the visit. She knows her classics and can whip you up something on the fly. She is at City Beach every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. You can find her in Julep’s on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. And she’s at Dot’s on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Thanks for supporting your local bartenders. And we look forward to bringing you the next cocktail of the week soon!

Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Alexa

Welcome back to our Behind the Bar Series, where we feature a local bartender of the week and a cocktail of the week for our followers. Why a Bartender and drink when this is supposed to be a fitness site? Well- because we believe in balance. And we are members of the thriving food and beverage scene in RVA. I, myself, am a bartender and train mostly restaurant staff currently. They are the backbone of a city, they know all the secrets. all the news, and are there to make your day better.

We took a few weeks off because of bartender Superbowl (aka St. Patrick’s Day) and lots of competition sports and vacation. All things that make it difficult to pop in and chat, because your local bartender is struggling with a crowd three deep and the last thing they want to talk about is a cocktail.

But we return, triumphantly, today with our friend Alexa. She’s a California transplant whose been making a name for herself for a while now. Currently heading up the bar program at Secco Wine Bar, she’s also lending her talents to Eat Restaurant Partner’s newest venture, Fatty Smokes coming April 20th.

IMG_2035.jpg

She’s also a close friend, a wonderful human, and one of the single most intimidating whiskey drinkers I know. I’ve seen a bottle of Jameson shake before her, I swear it.

I stopped in to see her at Secco the other night, to find out how training and working doubles for the last week has been going, discuss her love for baseball, and get her answers to our ten questions for our “Behind the Bar” series, adapted from James Lipton. She never fails to rise to the occasion, so her answers are below:

  1. What is your favorite word?

    Antidisestablishmentarianism

  2. What is your least favorite word?

    Croissant

  3. If you had a super power what would it be?

     X -Ray Vision

  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    Dirty Shirley (judge me…) But I’ll shoot whiskey all day.

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    21st Amendment- Hell or High Watermelon

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    Ugh all of them. Fuck/shit are most used but.. twatwaffle…

  7. What sound or noise do you love?

    The pop of a wine bottle

  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    The noise the credit card machine makes when it tells you to remove your card.

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Museum curator. (It’s why I moved to Richmond)

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    “It’s all sunshine, nothing but sunshine”- atmosphere. Because through the clouds there’s nothing but sunshine. 

Alexa created a delicious cocktail of the week for us using mezcal and whiskey, two of her favorite things.

“The El Camino”

  • 1 oz.  mezcal

  • 1 oz. rye whiskey

  • ½ oz. Bénédictine

  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

    Stir over ice and strain into glass with a large cube, garnish with orange peel.

IMG_2034.jpg

Stop in to see Alexa on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights at Secco and find her slinging drinks at Fatty Smokes when they open.

Let us know if you try the cocktail of the day by tagging us on Instagram and using the #tanddcocktailoftheweek hashtag.

See you next week!

Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Hans

Affable is the word that comes to mind when I think of Hans. He’s easy going, all smiles, well-spoken and well-intentioned and for such a tall man, he moves with a liquid grace that my t-rex arms and short legs envy. I met him through my co-worker, fellow bartender, and all around bad-ass friend Jane. She was telling me about her awesome boyfriend whom she was currently tracking on a sailing trip to the Bahamas. When we met, he stopped in to say hi, he was tanned and celebrating a second place finish if I recall correctly, and he was joyous in both his description of his adventures and his excitement of his next endeavor. And there are many!

hans.png

Sailing is just one of the skills in Hans’ arsenal. In addition to being adept on the water, he’s also: an avid rock climber, a sheep farmer, a hands-on builder of both bars and barns, and a talented bartender. I’m sure he does more and the list continues, but that’s all I’ve garnered so far and that’s an intimidating enough list to being with.

If you follow him on Instagram right now you can see him traipsing fields at all hours of the night on Ewe watch, garnering laughs and giving updates on their property in Goochland. Soon to have an airbnb and an open house on all the exciting developments and work he has done. Plus- baby lambs and goats, who couldn’t be more excited about that?!

I stopped in to see him at The Tobacco Company the other night, to get a fresh cocktail of the week, bother him at work, and of course get his answers to our ten questions for our “Behind the Bar” series. Which he has delightfully shared below:

  1. What is your favorite word?

    Tenacious

  2. What is your least favorite word?

    Festering

  3. If you had a super power what would it be?

     Supernatural stamina. Or talking to animals. I’m getting pretty close...

  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    Margarita.

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    St. Bernardus Abt. 12

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    Petrificus Totalus

  7. What sound or noise do you love?

    The wind. Rushing through the treetops, in and out of car windows, or whipping across the ocean waves..

  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    Complaining.

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Farmer. (Side Note: Also, if i could hang out with any celebrity for a day, it would be Chris Pratt, since he is also a sheep farmer.)

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    “Make as many friends as you can, make as few enemies as possible, know what the fuck you’re talking about, and if you promise something, deliver.” (some ex CIA dude I met in D.C.)

Hans created our cocktail of the week for us, with much joy as he expected several friends to stop in while he worked the deco bar, so without much ado- here it is:

“Life’s a Peach”

  • 1 1/4 oz Belle Isle Honey Habañero

  • 1/4 oz Lime

  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 1 dash Peach Bitters

IMG_1559.jpg


Stop in to see Hans at The Tobacco Company Restaurant where he exclusively works. Check out his Instagram for both farm posts and bar updates. Stop in to support him, try the cocktails at home and tag us on Instagram with your #tandcocktail #balancedandbadass hashtags.


Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Courtney Talley

Courtney Talley is a longstanding member of the Richmond bar scene, from the days when Blackfinn was still the local watering hole. She’s seen it all. Seriously. And she’s not impressed. Bartending with her is a mix of hilarious stories, personal conversation, and the inevitable “OKKKKK,” that can be heard across the bar which indicates to both her coworkers and friends that she does not have time for this shit.

She’s got stories for days. And very little time for nonsense. Watching her work is intimidating- she’s a quick flash of smile and then ruthless efficiency at her measures and pours. We’ve known of each other for years, similar and small circles kept bumping into each other, but we didn’t work together until last December when she was at Tazza Kitchen in Scott’s Addition. We became friends fairly quickly, both of us having a love for work and dogs. She and I now work together every Saturday, slinging drinks at City Beach, and mostly I just try to stay out of her way. She’s a machine, that runs on candy and donuts, and she doesn’t stop until we are out the door . While I dream of sleep, she prepares herself for her 10 a.m. brunch shift. She doesn’t know how to slow down. But when she does it’s to hit a workout at Orange Theory, Play with her defacto dog son - Jamo, or purchase new household items and joke about how she’s old now.

As is custom, we asked her a few questions, adapted from James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” to share a little insight into her personality:

  1. What is your favorite word?

    Candid.

  2. What is your least favorite word?

    Moist.

  3. If you had a super power what would it be?

    Flying.

  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    A really good Negroni.

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    Ommegang Rosetta.

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    I can only choose one?! Shit, Fuck, Hooker, Bullshit is my favorite combo.

  7. What sound or noise do you love?

    Silence.

  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    The noise someones credit card makes when they tap it on the bar while they are waiting for service.

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Stay at home dog mom.

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    “This Too Shall Pass,” I love it so much I got it tattooed on my arm.

Courtney was kind enough to create a cocktail of the week for us, a quick shooter that packs a flavor punch. It’s named after a bar guest we all know REALLLLYY well and figure a good shooter and a laugh go hand in hand.

IMG_1494.jpg

“The Chad”


You can find her behind the bar most days of the week. She’s at En Su Boca on Tuesday’s, Friday’s and Sunday Brunch and at City Beach on Thursday and Saturday nights. Just don’t tap your card to get her attention … or address her as “Hey asshole!” as one misguided bar guest did, before she promptly had him escorted out with a wave.

Stop in to support her at these local businesses, try the cocktails at home and tag us on Instagram with your #tandcocktail #balancedandbadass hashtags.

And keep your eyes peeled for our next installment. Contact us if you want to be a featured bartender, we’d love to share your story and skills.

Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Aubrey

We’ve had a fun week at Tequila & Deadlifts. We picked up a sissy squat to make gym workouts even that much more fun! Well, I think it’s fun. My clients and I have very different perspectives on the word. In fact, one of them told me my level of excitement to have them try out that particular machine was unnatural.

Which brings us to the next segment of “Behind the Bar”- with one of our very own coworkers and the client who thinks my idea of fun is awful- Aubrey.

IMG_1363.jpg

I met Aubrey long before we started working at Pizza and Beer of Richmond, or PBR, as we lovingly call it. We met in high school, he was a year above me. Aubrey is one of five, with a solid mix of sisters and brothers, and has always had a flair for language, which explained how he was in IB English.

Aubrey has has a varied career in service industry, from management and training at Cinébistro to the beloved Can Can Brasserie, he’s definitely a talented bartender and we respect the hell out of him as our fearless bar manager. He’s been kind enough to let me train him over the last few months and I’ve gotten to know the man behind the scenes, and he’s quite surprising. Besides being a dapper dresser, he’s an avid Star Wars nerd, wordsmith, proud dog dad of Finn, and woodworker.

IMG_1383.jpg

Check out his work on Instagram or find his store on Etsy.

I know a lot about Aubrey, but I asked him a few questions, adapted from James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” to showcase a little more of his personality for you:

What is your favorite word?

“Who has a favorite word? What am I? 10?!”

What is your least favorite word?

“Awake, because I like sleep… I don’t know.”

If you had a super power what would it be?

“Super strength. That would be cool, throw buses and stuff. That would be fun.”

What is your favorite cocktail?

“A margarita. On the rocks. I’d never ask a bartender to put something in a blender for me.”

What is your favorite beer?

“PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). Honestly I drink a shit-ton and it’s dirt cheap. It’s my de-facto favorite.”

What is your favorite curse word?

“All words are curse words. Utilize the full extent of the English Language.”

What sound or noise do you love?

“Those spring stoppers that you used to play with on a baseboard. Those were cool.”

What sound or noise do you hate?

“Cardboard rubbing together. It’s that dry sound, you can feel it.”

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

“Realistically? Astronaut.”

What is your favorite quote?

“Tell people whatever they want to hear and then do whatever the hell you want.”- Paris Hilton

Aubrey was also kind enough to craft our cocktail of the week. As always, imbibe responsibly. Feel free to tag us in your attempts at home or stop in and see him to request one of your very own.

IMG_1382.jpg

“A long walk off a short pier.”

Shake and strain over large cube.

Top with Maine Root Ginger Beer

Garnish with Cucumber (“It’s Important! It alters the flavor profile of the drink as it sits.”


Stop in to support him at PBR every Monday, Friday and Saturday, ask for the cocktail of the week or try any of his menu creations. If you try our Tequila & Deadlifts cocktails at home, make sure to tag us on Instagram with your #tandcocktail #balancedandbadass hashtags.