May 29, 2010 (Day 119) — The STD
After a brief parlay off the beaten path with last week’s feature, now we head back to the realm of bartending with this week’s interview. Ramon Henderson — another friend of mine from the wonderful world of Twitter — originally hails from St. Louis, although he moved to Chicago 14 years ago.
Ramon is a good friend of Josh Davis — who you’ll remember as Mr. Mixologist and the second featured bartender in this series! So, what does Ramon think of his adopted city?
“I love this city, but St. Louis is home,” he said in a recent interview.
Which is cool with me I’ve got friends who hail from both, so they can share the love. Except when it comes to baseball of course. Then you guys are on your own.
Cocktails, 365: How did you first get involved in bartending?
Ramon: While working for Hilton Hotel I was an Event Planner and use to have fun with all the bartenders from Banquets. In 2003, I made it official with a license, food service certificate, tips, the whole nine! I’m been in the industry for about 20 yrs and a licensed bartender since 2003.
Cocktails, 365: Where are you currently located?
Ramon: I currently looking for a new home. I was located at Winds Cafe in Logan Square here in Chicago. I was there off and on from 2003 to 2009 before they closed down. Logan Square is located in northwest Chicago great community. The Winds Cafe was my first paid bartending gig. Big Cubs crowd and, being from St. Louis, they loved to hate me. I made a lot of friends in the six years I was there. I loved the open mic sessions every Thursday. Allowed for some of the best live music ever and a lot of the bands. It was a mom and pop restaurant bar. The owners gave me an opportunity to learn the business and allow me to express my bartending talents. I miss the monthly themes and fun, but where one bar closes, in Chicago, opens up three more. You can find me wherever there’s a party in Chicago, but when the Cardinals in town definitely at Wrigleyville. I’m working on a dream to one day open a bartending school on Chicago’s south or to teach the importance of spirits and it’s safety.
Cocktails, 365: Working on any big projects?
Ramon: I’m work on a cocktail for a friend who’s turning 50 this year. It will be called 50&5 Martini for a birthday party in 5 cities every Friday in October, featuring 5 favorite flavors.
Cocktails, 365: Tell us about your signature drink.
Ramon: The Long Beach has always been a winner for me. It’s a Long Island only instead of Coke and triple sec, I used Cranberry & Cointreau. It was very popular with the ladies. I’m also one of the co-creators of the STD shot along with Josh Davis (@MrMixologist) a great friend. recipe; 1/3 Wild Turkey, 1/3 Cognac, topped with 151 Rum light on fire make a wish and drink. The slogan: “The one time you don’t mind getting burned.”
I decided to go with the short recipe this evening, as it’s been quite a while since I last made one. And, since it’s not only Memorial Weekend, but also Jenn and I’s anniversary weekend, I figure it’s time to celebrate a bit. Loosen up with some shots.
One word of warning though — BEFORE YOU TAKE THE SHOT, BLOW THE GODDAMN THING OUT! I don’t need anyone going to the hospital with the third degree burns because you made a drink off this web site. I couldn’t get any good photos of my shots, so I’m going to use the one Ramon was nice enough to send along.
WOOO-HOOO-HOOOOOO! Man! That has got some FIRE going down. I mean, wowie! The warmth imparted by the flames, combined with the warmth of the three sweet liquors knocks you on your ass. And warms you up. And surprisingly, doesn’t leave much of a trace on the tongue! Right after taking the shot, there was no lingering aftertaste of any of the boozes.
I’m not a big shot guy, but that is one damn good shot! I’ll have to try the Long Beach one of these days, too!
A very sincere “thank you” to Ramon for taking the time out of his schedule to help out with this little project! Hopefully he finds a new home for his talents — and if he does, be sure and ask him for the STD. Just make sure you very clear when explaining what is you want.