Tap 42 Beverage Director Paige Nast Talks About Tricking Customers, Cosmos With Olive Juice
|Tap 42 beverage director Paige Nast|
One local beverage director has turned that male-dominated stereotype on its head. At twenty-two years old, Paige Nast is leading one of the most intensive cocktail programs in Broward County at Fort Lauderdale's Tap 42.
Clean Plate Charlie: Hometown/high school?
Nast: Fort Lauderdale; St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
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How long have you been in South Florida?
My whole life! I actually was born across the street from Tap at Broward General, and have been born and raised in Fort Lauderdale my entire life! I've very much become a product of my environment, and really can't imagine living anywhere other than South Florida.
How long have you been in the industry?
I've been working in restaurants since I was 15 years old. I started off as a bread-girl at 15th Street Fisheries, and worked my way through the ranks at a few different places, from hostess to server, than cocktail to bartender, and finally Beverage Director at Tap 42. I've learned so much from every establishment I've been lucky to be a part of and have met and worked with so many great people throughout the years. I love to be hands-on and be involved in every aspect of each establishment; I'm constantly in the way in the kitchen!
I knew I wanted to be a bartender when _______.
When I was working at Ocean Prime as a cocktail server, the head bartenders and I became close and we needed to replace a bartender that was leaving. I've always been very culinary inclined and loved experimenting with different flavors and the like, and as the cocktail program there was so culinary based, I always found the beverage program very interesting. When they approached me about training me behind the bar I was instantly excited and was fortunate to be mentored by two people who had a passion for mixology, and I instantly knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
Favorite drink to make?
It's not as much a particular drink that I love to make. For me, and this may sound a little nefarious, I love tricking people, as in, when someone tells me "I hate gin" or whatever the spirit that they dislike may be, I come up with a cocktail that they usually end up loving, and when they ask what it is, I tell them HA, you don't hate ____, you're drinking it! It's just fun exposing people to new things.
Least favorite drink to make?
Any spirit and ______. I get that sometimes people want to enjoy old trusty and just stick to what they know and like, but I really love getting the opportunity to create something awesome and unique for my bar guests. Most bartenders would probably answer "Mojito" but the way I look at that is, it's just as many steps to make any other cocktail!
Strangest drink requested?
There's probably been a lot more that I can't think of at the moment, but a few recent odd-balls: Cosmo with olive juice (????), and a Bloody Mary with a splash of Guinness, which was surprisingly tasty, the Guinness actually balances the acidity and apparently its popular in the Midwest.