Many of us just love a great cocktail. This favorite feature brings us to some of the best bartenders and mixologist in our area. Discover how their passion and excitement for bartending enriches the lives of every customer they meet. From cozy winter drinks to sexy dreamy cocktails these mixologists are ready to pour you just what you need!
Mixologist Daniela Palavicini has been working in the industry since 2017. She describes herself as a Venezuelan girl who arrived in America six years ago with a suitcase full of dreams and hopes. In her country she was a lawyer, but here, “in this beautiful country and second home” she is a bartender. “Something quite different from what I used to do,” she explains, “but I do it with the same love and passion that I used to work in my country.” In America, her previous jobs were at Noches de Colombia in Hackensack, White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth, The Beer Spot & Grill in Fort Lee, and Mamajuana Café in West New York. Daniela considers a great bartender to be someone who applies “KSC” (Know, Share, Create) to their customers experience. She describes the process for her as becoming a “chameleon”, knowing their customers, sharing their happiness or difficult times, and creating a new experience in a friendly environment that changes their day for the better. “I also believe that being a great bartender is showing your personality, having charisma, anticipating and caring about your customer,” replies Daniela. In short, she wishes to exceed the expectations of her customers during their visit by offering premium service. Daniela loves creating new flavors and tasting experiences by giving a personal touch to her cocktails. She considers her customers to be her friends and helping to enrich their day so when they leave, they are happy. “I love being a bartender to be honest!” she exclaims. And her customers love her too! Especially her great memory for remembering their favorite drinks.
Daniela’s favorite craft cocktail for the season, is one that she calls “Tropical Winter”. She describes her creation as follows: “The passion for my roots and the most beautiful time of the year have made the creation of this cocktail possible. Blending a premium Venezuelan rum, Santa Teresa 1796, winner of many international awards, is a rich and refined solera rum with an unexpected dry finish. Unique taste of nuts, leather, vanilla, cinnamon, dark chocolate, prunes, hints of honey and pepper. Mixed with a passion fruit jam, it gives it that citrus and tropical touch that represents me as a person. Accompanied by Orange Bitters that aromatizes the cocktail and gives it that bitter touch.” She considers this to be her classic cocktail, “When you taste all the elements on your palate, you are in the presence of that longed for “tropical winter”.”
Recipe “Tropical Winter”
2 oz. Santa Teresa Solera Rum
0.5 oz. spiced rum
0.5 oz Passion fruit jam made with brown sugar
2 dashes of orange bitter
2 dashes of angostura bitters
1 dried lemon slice
Pour Santa Teresa 1796 Rum and spiced rum over big ice rock in an Old-Fashioned glass. Stir. Add the angostura bitters, Passion fruit jam and muddle to combine. Garnish with dried lemon.
Mixologist Sara Osorio has been in the service industry for seven years. She was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia and came to the United States when she turned 16 years old. Her first job was at Friendly’s but soon left to work at a Mexican restaurant where she found her love for bartending. She explains, “Once I had a goal in mind, and I knew what I wanted to do, then I did it!” Her first official bartending job was at Buffalo Café, then Nikko Hibachi Steakhouse & Lounge in Fairfield, Picco Tavern in Hackensack, then finally at Oceanos Oyster Bar & Grill. “Making so many cocktails enticed me to learn more about the art of bartending/mixology,” explains Sara, “which then gave me the drive to apply to one of the top schools in Europe for mixology located in Barcelona, Spain. European bartending school was a two-week intensive course but much worth it.” In Barcelona Sara learned from some of the best in the industry, such as Giacomo Giannotti, owner of Paradiso, which was awarded #1 best bar in the world in 2022. Sara envisions owning an award-winning craft cocktail bar one day. Sara believes that a great bartender is one that is able to meet the standards and needs of the consumer with both the drink created and the connection one builds with the customer. “In other words,” she describes, “it’s about passion. It’s not just about throwing ingredients together and shaking them up. It’s about creating with passion, knowing and experimenting what ingredients that will mix great together.” Sara enjoys the craftsmanship of the drinks as well as the networking opportunities she encounters. She wants to create cocktails that customers love, and see their expressions after having the first sip of a well-made drink. She looks forward to meeting different people on a daily basis, “I love connecting with new people, especially when they come back because of the quality of the cocktail and, of course, the quality service given to them!” One of Sara’s favorite quotes comes from Walt Disney: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
Sara’s favorite craft cocktail is the “Naughty Night.” “This delicious cocktail has a perfect balance of both sweet and tart for the holiday fun. This is the first cocktail I have created but there are many more to come!” she explains.
Naughty Night Cocktail
2 oz. Cranberry infused Gin,
3/4 oz. St Germain Liquor
1/2 oz of lemon juice
Fill with ice, shake. pour into a double rocks glass and top off with prosecco. Garnish with fresh mint and cranberries. (For a sweeter drink add a squeeze of simple syrup then shake.)
Mixologist Nicholas Campanella has been working in the food and beverage industry for 18 years doing practically every job in a restaurant from busser to bartender. Previously he worked at Roots Steakhouse in Morristown and Huntley Taverne in Summit. He now enjoys mixing it up at 1776 by David Burke in Morristown. When Nick was growing up, he couldn’t decide whether he should become a teacher or a chef. He feels his choice to have a career in bartending strikes a balance between both interests. “I think it threads that needle really well. I love what I do and love having fun behind the bar,” he declares. A favorite part of his job is to meet a wide variety of people, he proudly offers his guests “Good drinks, hearty laughs and fun times.” Nick feels that being a great bartender is like being a chameleon, “adapting to all situations around you. Every day of bartending is a new and exciting adventure.”
Nicholas likes to mix up one of his favorite craft cocktails, the 1776 House Old Fashioned, for his clients.
1776 House Old Fashioned
2 oz. Sagamore Rye whiskey
¾ oz. Tempest Fugit Creme de Banana
1/2 oz. Baking Spiced Simple Syrup
2 dashes angostura bitters
Stir and serve over a large ice cube with dried banana chips.
By Paul Turpanjian