Behind the Stick

Behind the Stick with Logan Raspa of Riverside Liquors

Welcome back behind the stick, folks! If you missed our cocktail competition at the beginning of August at , well, you missed out. from took home the honors but faced fierce competition from some of Jacksonville’s finest bartenders. Check out my article online for more information on what went down. In the meantime, take a look at with . He started there as a teenager in 2004, but returned in 2010 to really learn the trade. After seven years, Raspa has learned a lot and continues to share his knowledge. Going into the fall, Raspa recommends Cynar. It is a …

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Behind the Stick: Cocktail Competition

Behind the Stick Cocktail Competiton, EU Jacksonville, Marlin & Barrel, The Parlour at Grape & Grain Exchange, Photo by Cristina Danielle O'Connor

Over the last year, through my Behind the Stick column, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with bartenders all over Jacksonville (and St. Augustine) and discovering what ingredients they’re working with on any given day. On Monday, August 7th, we held a competition in the to see how some of those bartenders utilized either the grapefruit cello or orange cello produced by . Of seven cocktails, the Valyrian Sling by Meaghan Leonard came out on top. She used the orangecello, the 2nd street gin (also from local distillery, Marlin and Barrel), and several syrups that she made herself. The resulting …

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Drink It Local: Marlin & Barrel Distillery in Fernandina

  This month I sat down with the head distiller at Fernandina distillery Marlin and Barrel, Wyatt Griesemer, to talk about the history of the distillery and where it’s headed in the future. Previously a bartender with Restaurant Orsay, Griesemer has been working at Marlin and Barrel for over a year now. The distillery itself is fairly new, having only celebrated their two-year anniversary in March. He says that there are currently four full-time employees and that the basic practice is, “making booze in back, selling it in front.” It is a philosophy that seems to work out pretty well …

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Behind the Stick: Negroni Week in Jacksonville, June 5-11

The Classic Negroni, photo courtesy of Campari

Welcome back behind the stick. This month we’re talking all things negroni. Are you familiar with the negroni cocktail, friends? With only three ingredients, it’s easy to make and hard to mess up. The negroni is comprised of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The most classic ratio is equal parts of all three ingredients, but bartenders will vary the proportions based on individual taste. I prefer a less sweet combination and tend to add a touch more gin and Campari and a bit less sweet vermouth. In 1947, Orson Welles described the negroni as such: “The bitters are excellent for …

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Behind the Stick with Meaghan Leonard

Midnight Manhattan: 2 oz Canadian Rye (referencing Leonard’s French-Canadian background) Pike Creek (finished in port cask—Whistle Pig works, too) 1 oz Averna (an Italian amaro, bitter but so lovely) Dash Cardamom bitters, dash plum bitters (2 dashes Angostura will suffice instead) Welcome back behind the stick. This month I chatted with Meaghan Leonard, currently a bartender at Restaurant Orsay. Leonard is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina and has been in Jacksonville since 2007. She is currently working on a degree in Fine Arts from UNF. Leonard started as a math major before shifting her focus towards photography, and says that …

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Behind the Stick with Blair Redington

Bistro Aix, drinks, bar, Behind the Stick, Blair Reddington

The origin of the term “behind the stick” to describe a bartender is a tad murky. The general consensus is that bartenders earned the moniker because they pulled wooden tap handles to serve beer. Today, even bartenders who spend more time on craft cocktails than slinging beer identify as working behind the stick. This column is the first of our new monthly series profiling local bartenders. Pull up a barstool and join me as we learn more about our local scene and must-have drinks this month. I spoke with about his experience in the craft cocktail scene. He has been …

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october, 2021

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