Nov 01

The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge: Eric Aarons of Ecco

Next up on The Q+DD Bartender Challenge is none other than the amazing Eric Aarons of Ecco!

Ecco is a seasonally-inspired European restaurant in Midtown that LK + I frequent.  It’s also cooked up quite a reputation recently for its celebrity customers…  The food is fantastic, the wine is out of this world – and the bar, in particular, is one of our favorite places to hang out + people watch.  So naturally, we HAD to interview Eric for The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge!

Eric, who is originally from DC, started working in the hotel and restaurant biz while in college.  He began bartending in 1983 + enjoyed it so much he’s stuck with it since.  Simply, bartending makes our lovely Eric happy.  He joined the Fifth Group in 2005, and he helped open Ecco with the company in 2006.  Eric is a trainer for Fifth Group, which keeps him super busy, but he makes sure to take four days off every month to travel and visit friends + family.  This month, he’s headed to Anna Maria Island off the coast of Florida for some well-deserved R&R! 

Now, if you do the math (he started bartending in 1983…), Eric’s age may suprise you.  But let us tell Y’ALL, he looks f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c.  Witness: 

So, LK + I DRILLED him for his secret to fabulousness: lots of H2O, lots of rest, a glass of wine every night, sunscreen twice a day + working out six or seven days a week.  (Eric teaches spinning at local gyms.) 

Chit-chatting with Eric is always splendid, but finally it was time to get down to business with…

THE DIRTY DIRTY DOZEN QUESTIONS

1 – Please state your name + place of employment for the record.

Eric Aarons.  Head bartender at Ecco.

2 – What’s your drink?

Most often wine.  But if I do have a cocktail, it’s a Hanger One martini – straight up, extra dry, extra cold, with a twist.

3 – What drink do you hate to be asked to make?

Any variation on one of my signature cocktails.  They are my creations.  Please don’t insult me by rewriting my recipes.

4 – What’s the best story you’ve heard in your bar?

I’ve been behind the bar for twenty-nine years.  I could write volumes.  A true professional keeps those stories confidential.

5 – Describe your clientele in three words.

Sexy.  Savvy.  Fun.

 6 – If you’re not drinking at Ecco, where are you drinking?

At home.  Sitting on my balcony.  With my dog, Buddy, in my lap.  Taking in the Midtown skyline.

buddy!

7 – If your bar was personified in a celebrity, who would it be?

George Clooney.  Sexy (again).  Stylish.  Talented.

8 – Imagine you were stranded on a desert island + wanted to start a bar from scratch.  You can bring 4 bottles and 1 type of glass.  What would they be?

Three bottles of H2O for survival.  One bottle of grain alcohol to light a fire, send smoke signals + get rescued!  You can keep the glass – I ain’t stayin’!!

9 – Currently, what is the most popular drink at your bar?

“GiGi Says…”  I just won a national contest with this cocktail: http://www.hangarone.com/blimp-tour/entry/14.  It is my spin on a ginger gimlet.

(Side note: LK + I looooove “GiGi Says…”)

10 – What is your favorite area of town?

Midtown.  It’s where I live, work + play.

11 – What is your secret weapon?

Depends on my target.  I have an arsenal…

12 – The name of the cocktail is “The Quick + Dirty Dirty.”  What’s in it?

Hanger One vodka martini with juice from San Agostino olives topped with a medley of three delicious olives all imported from Italy: San Agostino, Gaeta + Calabrese.

Thanks so much to Eric for participating in The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge!  Visit him soon at Ecco – and wave to us at the bar.  (Odds are LK + I will be sitting there sippin’ our “GiGi Says…”)  :)

WHO’S NEXT???

Do you have a recommendation for our next contender?  Are you a mixologist we need to meet? 

E-mail us at thequickanddirtydirty@gmail.com or tweet us up at @Lindsaywhat44 + @LaurenKAtlanta!

Maybe we’ll see YOU next on The Q+DD Bartender Challenge!

xx, L+L

Ecco
40 7th Street NE
Atlanta, GA  30308
404.347.9555
www.ecco-atlanta.com

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Categories: Cocktails,Midtown,Q+DD Bartender Challenge,Where we're Eating

Jul 11

The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge: Alli Royce Soble of La Tavola

We are so excited to introduce our next contestant on The Q+DD Bartender Challenge….Alli Royce Soble of La Tavola!

We had a great time with bartender Alli who has found her home behind the bar at cozy-yet-elegant La Tavola for the last 11 years.

We chatted about her affinity for the Virginia Highlands (she lives just steps away from the restaurant – which is located the corner of Virginia and North Highland), her unbelievable mental map of the city (Alli is a native and joked that with her knowledge of Atlanta backroads, she could have been a taxi driver instead!) and her deep appreciation for her position at La Tavola – she loves her loyal clientele, coming up with creative cocktails, and the study of wine and spirits.

A true renaissance woman, Alli’s creativity doesn’t end in a glass – she is also an award-winning photographer and painter and is the official food photographer for the Fifth Group Restaurants!  (Check out her website HERE)

In addition to all that, she has a lovely energy and we both enjoyed her very much!

Without further ado… here are Alli’s answers to…

THE DIRTY DIRTY DOZEN QUESTIONS

1 – Please state your name + place of employment for the record.

Alli Royce Soble.  La Tavola.

2 – What’s your drink?

Campari and soda with a splash of OJ

3 – What drink do you hate to be asked to make?

Lemon Drops.  (and if she makes one, she knows she’ll have to make another.  Apparently Lemon Drops are like potato chips…people rarely have just one.)

4 – What’s the best story you’ve heard in your bar?

Alli recalled one particular colorful conversation between two men…one in a dress.   If you want the full deets – you have to ask her!

5 – Describe your clientele in three words.

Loyal – Patient – Passionate.

6 – If you’re not drinking at La Tavola, where are you drinking?

Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium

7 – If your bar was personified in a celebrity, who would it be?

Paul Rudd.  He’s charming, quick witted, loveable, infectious and has a good energy

8 – Imagine you were stranded on a desert island + wanted to start a bar from scratch.  You can bring 4 bottles and 1 type of glass.  What would they be?

(1) Campari (2) Gin (3) Vodka (4) soda water.  Collins glass.

Collins.

9 – Currently, what is the most popular drink at your bar?

Basil Lemonada (Lemon vodka, basil syrup, splash of soda and sour)

10 – What is your favorite area of town?

The Edgewood Corridor

11 – What is your secret weapon?

Her smile!

12 – The name of the cocktail is “The Quick + Dirty Dirty.”  What’s in it?

Since we were there at a brunch hour, Alli made us her idea of The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bloody: Absolut Peppar, chili flakes, fresh lemon, a splash of lime juice, cracked black pepper, and a lemon twist

Please witness:

Gorgeous (because it was styled by Ms. Alli herself, of course) and delicious!

Lindsay and I had a delightful morning at La Tavola and Alli was a fabulous contender!  Many thanks to Alli, La Tavola, and our buddy Michael Erickson of Fifth Group Restaurants!

Who’s next?

Do you have a recommendation for our next contender?  Are you a mixologist we need to meet?  Email us at thequickanddirtydirty@gmail.com or tweet us up at @LaurenKAtlanta and @Lindsaywhat44!

Maybe we’ll see YOU on The Q+DD Bartender Challenge!

xx, L + L

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Categories: Cocktails,Q+DD Bartender Challenge,What we're Doing

Jun 15

06/16: The Q+DD 2 Year Anniversary Happy Hour!

Lindsay and I are SO EXCITED about tomorrow night!

We can’t wait to see you, celebrate 2 years of the Q+DD and sample the BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW COCKTAIL MENU created by Pura Vida’s new mixologist, Paul Calvert! (Our very first contestant on the Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge! If you missed that post, click HERE to get up to speed!)

Here are a few I’m particularly excited to try:

La Paloma: reposado tequila, lime, agave syrup, pinch of salt, grapefruit soda

Cordoba Heights: Frenet-Branca, house lime shrub, Mexican Coke

La Reina Subterranea: Los Nahuales joben mezcal, velvet falernum, lime, agave syrup, Angostura bitters, mint (mostly because I’m quite sure I don’t know what the majority of the ingrediants are)

The Lovecats: Hayman’s Old Tom gin, grapefruit, lemon, Damiana, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, house grapefruit bitters

Pisco Punch: pisco, lemon, pineapple gum syrup

But truthfully, the entire new cocktail menu looks absolutely amazing: both posh and mysterious… I love that sort of thing.

Paul is a cocktail GENIUS.  We LOVED his version of the Quick + Dirty Dirty cocktail. Maybe if you ask him very nicely he’ll whip one up for you!


Lindsay + I will see you tomorrow night at Pura Vida!

xx, L

Pura Vida 656 N. Highland Avenue Atlanta GA 30306

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Categories: Cocktails,Events,Parties,Q+DD Bartender Challenge

Jun 10

The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge: Paul Calvert of Pura Vida

Dearest readers,

We are SUPER excited to tell you about the one….the only….The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge!  LK + I are in search of the best bartenders in town.  We want to know what’s their story, what they’re makin’ behind the bar + (most importantly) who can make the best Quick + Dirty Dirty Cocktail in Atlanta!  Once a month (maybe twice if we’re feeling crazy), we will visit a local establishment + grill their bartender with our Dirty Dirty Dozen Questions.  Then, we’ll write it all up and share it with you!   Sound fun?  Well, away we go…

We are thrilled + honored to announce that we are kicking off our first installment of The Quick + Dirty Dirty Bartender Challenge with none other than Paul Calvert of Pura Vida!

master p

Paul cut his teeth in Boston at the great beer + cocktail bar, Deep Ellum.  He relocated to Atlanta in 2009 and opened the bar at the Sound Table in the Old Fourth Ward.  Recently, Paul won the Killer Tomato Festival’s “Best Tasting Drink in 2010,” + had his Jaguar Milk Punch featured on Bon Appetit’s website. The Socialist (Scarlet Ibis & Dorado Rums, Carpano Antico Formula, Allspice Dram + house made orange bitters) won Paul the 2010 Taste of Atlanta Barcraft Competition for “Best Cocktail.”  Assisted at the bar by long time customer favorite, Raul Aparcana, as well as bartender Brad Tolleson, he will launch Pura Vida’s new drink list in mid-June.

Paul is a Spanish, pan-Caribbean + Central and South American spirits expert + enthusiast, and has discovered many delicious liquors throughout his travels to these areas.  He feels as though these spirits are often under appreciated and neglected in Atlanta.  Paul is hoping to change that at Pura Vida by providing a bit of a Latin twist on our local cocktail scene. With the addition of Paul to the restaurant, our friend and former Top Chef contestant, Hector Santiago, is pleased to boast that Pura Vida is now completely authentic: food, beverages, atmosphere – you name it!

So let’s get to it, shall we? We shall.

THE DIRTY DIRTY DOZEN QUESTIONS

1 – Please state your name + place of employment for the record.

Paul Calvert.  Pura Vida.

2 – What’s your drink?

A sour; cold + quick.

3 – What drink do you hate to be asked to make?

None.  I don’t hate anything about making drinks.

4 – What’s the best story you’ve heard in your bar?

At Deep Ellum in Boston, an older gentleman would tell stories about his time in the CIA.  Some seemed true, some seemed like a movie script, all were very entertaining.

5 – Describe your clientele in three words.

Open.  Down-to-Earth.  Eclectic.

6 – If you’re not drinking at Pura Vida, where are you drinking?

At home.

7 – If your bar was personified in a celebrity, who would it be?

A mix between Humphrey Bogart + Benicio del Toro.

8 – Imagine you were stranded on a desert island + wanted to start a bar from scratch.  You can bring 4 bottles and 1 type of glass.  What would they be?

(1) 100 proof rye whiskey, (2) bitters, (3) Fernet Branca liqueur, (4) water.  Rocks glass.

9 – Currently, what is the most popular drink at your bar?

Caipirnha.

10 – What is your favorite area of town?

Old Fourth Ward.

11 – What is your secret weapon?

None of my weapons are secret.

12 – The name of the cocktail is “The Quick + Dirty Dirty.”  What’s in it?

Dry gin, lime, sugar, mint + Fernet Branca liqueur.  Double strained.

Please witness:

Quick + Dirty Dirty Cocktail: Pura Vida

Enjoyed by all at Pura Vida, including Hector + Leslie Santiago! Will it make the new PV drink menu set to debut mid-June?  Time will only tell…

hector + leslie

Paul’s Q+DD cocktail is going to be very hard to beat.  Thanks for meeting with us, Paul, we wish you MUCHO success at PV!  And, we’ll see you next Thursday at our Q+DD 2 Year Anniversary Happy Hour at Pura Vida!


In the meantime, watch out bartenders, the Q+DD is coming for you!
:)

xx, L

Pura Vida
656 North Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30306
404.870.9797
www.puravidatapas.com

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Categories: Cocktails,Q+DD Bartender Challenge,What we're Doing