Meet the Mixologists

By Paul Turpanjian


Many of us just love a great cocktail. This favorite feature introduces us to some of the best bartenders in our area. Meet these two talented mixologists who use their special techniques to create some of the best cocktails around this summer. 

Smoked Tequila Old Fashioned


  • 3oz Casamigos Anejo Tequila
  • ¼ oz Demerara Syrup
  • 2-3 Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Stirred and poured over an ice ball
  • Smoked with cherry smoke
  • Garnished with an orange peel and Luxardo maraschino cherries

Alexandra Cofrancisco

Mixologist at Metropolitan Café

Metropolitan Café {8 East Main Street, Freehold; 732.780.9400;}

A true Jersey girl, Alexandra Cofrancisco grew up at the shore in a big Italian family who loved to celebrate.  “My family is a huge, entertaining, and giving family. It is what I have known my entire life. I feel that my personal family life has also helped me in the restaurant industry and with relationships that I have gained.” Alexandra started school for Business Administration at Brookdale Community College and finished at Rutgers University. She initially worked in retail but once she entered into the restaurant industry her career took off. “I started out as a hostess at Metropolitan Cafe in April and by August I was training to become a server and cocktail waitress. Once I was waitressing, I always remember watching the bartender making cocktails and I became more interested in learning how to bartend. By January I started training behind the bar and by March I was a full-time bartender.” She tells how she loved the whole atmosphere and vibe behind the bar. Her skills progressed as she worked at both Teak in Red Bank and Metropolitan Café in Freehold. But she didn’t stop there, at one point she was working at three restaurants, including Gabriella’s Italian Steakhouse in Middletown. Eventually she decided to take her skills to the Birch Hoboken, a nightclub in northern New Jersey. Presently Alexandra is working both in Hoboken and in Freehold. “I absolutely love the fast paced and high-volume environment. Having the experience from Metro and being able to make specialty cocktails at an efficient and fast pace has benefited me over the years. It has helped me progress through the industry and has made me the bartender that I am today.” At Metro she is also the Administrative Manager and Head of Private Events and Catering.

When we asked Alexandra what makes a great bartender she replied, “Someone that is professional, friendly, personable, outgoing, and who makes their customers feel ‘at home’, like family. Someone who is able to engage with the customers in a genuine manner and is very attentive and aware of their customer’s needs. Also, they need to be open and ready to handle any issues that could arise!”  Alexandra explains that it is important to able to sit and talk with different customers whether it’s a regular that has been coming around for 15 years or someone who just came through the door that day. Her job is to make them feel at home, like family and engage with them through conversation and mix up a delicious cocktail!

Alexandra is so thankful. “I have gained so many friendships and family throughout the years including my absolute best friend Amber (we met at Metro), her and her family are now my second family. I love the people I work with, pretty much anywhere I have worked. You become like a family. It’s like I have gained even more siblings and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”

She talked about how her work allows her to meet so many different kinds of people that teach her so many lessons in life. “I have heard so many stories throughout the years, and a lot of times you learn that it can always be worse. I feel that this job has also humbled me and opened my eyes up to so many different situations in life. I’ve seen and have heard it all.” She admits that it can be challenging sometimes, “Dealing with people and the public is not easy, but it only helps you in the future. I feel that everyone should work in the service and hospitality industry at least once in their life”

When Alexandra is tending the bar she assures that you will always feel like family. Some advice she gives to bartenders, “Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.” We asked her for a quote that she liked, and she quickly said, “There’s nothing a smile and cocktail can’t fix!” Her favorite is Smoked Tequila Old Fashioned.

Brianna Clayton

Mixologist at Drifthouse by David Burke

{1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright; 732.530.9760}

Brianna Clayton has been working in the restaurant industry for over a decade. She was born and raised in Rumson and currently lives in Red Bank. She enjoys working at the newly redesigned Drifthouse by David Burke where they have a popular happy hour Sundays 4pm to 8:30pm, Tuesday through Friday 4pm to 9:30pm, and on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm. Her bartending career began to bloom 11 years ago when she landed a job as a hostess at Undici Italian Restaurant in Rumson. That is when she says that she fell in love with the restaurant business. She has worked many positions and has learned from the ground up everything she needed to know, before becoming a bartender in Sea Bright’s Drifthouse by David Burke. Brianna believes that a great bartender is someone who greets the customer when they come to sit at the bar, and makes them feel like they are relaxing at home enjoying a fine cocktail. One quote that Brianna uses to sum up her guests experience at the Drifthouse is it’s like a “home away from home” for everyone. “My favorite part of bartending is meeting new people and having amazing regulars I see every week.” A favorite cocktail among the regulars is the Bri Berry Martini. A vodka-based cocktail with blueberry/honey. It’s a perfect drink to celebrate the warm weather.

Bri Berry Martini


2 oz. Tito’s Vodka

1 oz. Lemon juice

.75 Marquette triple sec liqueur

.75 honey syrup

.5 Sourland Mountain Spirits Blueberry Honey Liquor

Shake and strain into a coupe martini glass