Cocktail of the Week

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.

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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.

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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 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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.