Food & Wine: Rob Crabtree

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Rob Crabtree

First real bartending job?

The Crab House in Boca Raton [since closed], when I was just getting going in college. I loved serving people drinks at parties at my house, so why not do it to make money? That led me to bartending school and then got a job working at a very busy seafood restaurant, first working the well and then interacting with customers. It was quite different from my house parties, but the root of it is kind of the same.

Favorite guilty pleasure drink?

It would absolutely be a Miami Vice. It’s kind of a 50/50 strawberry daiquiri and piña colada mix. It’s just a very trashy, tiki drink that’s delicious when done right.

Secret weapon behind the bar?

I am a big fanatic of agave spirits, mostly tequila and mezcal. Most people don’t realize how great good tequila can be in a cocktail. They’re used to low-quality tequila or things that are not 100% agave and so you get these customers who will go from saying, “Oh, I’ll never touch tequila again, I had a bad experience” to “Wait…what’s in this? Amazing!”

One thing every home bartender should have on hand:

They should always keep fresh citrus on hand – whole lemons or limes. Any fresh citrus brings a nice vibrancy to home cocktails, and they don’t have to be complicated. People are too quick to grab a pre-squeezed something.

The next “big thing” in the cocktail world:

I see a trend back towards more approachable and fun drinks. Things got a bit off-track into really craft-driven or a mixology-driven scene. People are going back to quality ingredients with simple preparation of drinks and just a fun environment. Sometimes going to a bar is about having fun and socializing, not about the most complex drink in the world.

The Dish
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