From distillers to bartenders, this group of industry professionals reflects on what their dads mean to them and what they would drink with dad, not just on Father’s Day, but any day of the year.
David J. Souza, Founder, Sweet Potato Spirits (San Joaquin Valley, CA): Drink Your Veggies
Leaving behind a gig in the spirits biz in Vegas, Souza returned home to the family farm to make spirits out of sweet potatoes. The line now includes vodka, gin, and a soon-to-be released rye, as well as a sweet potato liqueur.
David says: “My father is an old school farmer who’s been working our family’s land in the San Joaquin Valley since he was old enough to walk upright. To this day he’s up at dawn and on the job well after the sun goes down. He rarely stops working long enough to sleep let alone enjoy a drink, so when we drink together its usually in conjunction with something celebratory. These moments are exceptionally special to me because I get to see him actually relax and lose himself in the moment.”
Drink for Dad: “The drink of choice would be a Bloody Mary. My father’s love for the farm follows suit all the way to his choice of cocktail, packed full of veggies.”
Corbin Bloody Mary
- 3 oz. Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka
- 5 oz. Spicy V-8
- 1/2 tsp. Horseradish
- Pinch of Celery Salt
- Dash of Black Pepper
- Pinch of Garlic Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- Couple dashes of Tabasco Sauce
Garnish: Celery Stick, Bacon, Asparagus, Stuffed Olives, Cheese Wedge, Shrimp, Wax Peppers
Preparation: Put all ingredients in stainless shaker and shake vigorously until everything is thoroughly mixed. Pour into a tall 10-12 oz. glass. Garnish with Celery, bacon, asparagus in glass, stuffed olives, cheese, shrimp, and wax peppers on skewer.
Carl Nolet Jr., Executive Vice President, Nolet Spirits USA: Bellyaching Fun
As the eleventh generation to run Nolet Spirits (Nolet Gins and Ketel One Vodka), Carl Nolet Jr. has a lot to live up to. Luckily, he and his brother have a close relationship with their dad, which not only means learning from the best, but also sharing the successes together. While the more modern cocktail culture often demands mixing spirits, Carl’s dad enjoys savoring the family spirits solo.
Nolet says: “For my brother Bob and myself, sharing a cocktail with our dad always seems to end in bellyaching fun. We end up reminiscing and laughing about the crazy things we used to do when we were young growing up in Holland. One of my dad’s favorite stories is when he caught us sneaking into our neighbor’s yard and changing the channels to their TV with a universal remote. The chaos that ensued was fantastic and hilarious to watch!”
Drink for Dad: “When it comes to cocktails, my dad trusts that the bartender knows how to best serve a drink that compliments Ketel One and NOLET’S Silver. At home, my dad is a purist and enjoys simply made drinks in good company.”
Nolet’s Reserve on the Rocks
- 1 1/2 oz. NOLET’S Reserve Dry Gin
Preparation: Pour NOLET’S Reserve over ice into a sherry or snifter glass. No garnish necessary.
Keli Rivers (Devil’s Acre, San Francisco): Her Father’s Daughter
Being a bartender can be back-breaking work. It’s unlikely any parent would wish that on their child. While Keli Rivers’ dad might feel the same, he made sure he brought his girl up right. Now, behind the stick at Devil’s Acre in the city by the bay and as one of the Girls with Bols, Rivers makes her father proud.
Keli says: “If you asked my father if he thought his little girl would grow up to be a bartender, he’d probably nervously change the subject. Give him a few cocktails and the truth comes flowing out- my father never wanted me to have long hours on my feet, never wanted me to work 70 hour weeks, never wanted me to not have benefits or a 401K plan, However my father always wanted me to stay true to my own path. I have taken that stubborn drive with me behind every bar I’ve worked, challenging myself to be faster, smarter, cleaner – to be the kind of daughter my father raised me to be: an individual, [someone who can] take on any task 100% with both feet in, true to my word. In looking back I am truly my father’s daughter.”
Drink for Dad: “My father relocated our family to Europe early in my life and introduced me to genever as a kid — hey it was Europe in the late 70’s; all the kids were doing it! I’ve been a fan ever since. This one’s for you Pappasan!”
Father May I
- 2 oz. Bols Barrel-Aged Genever
- 1/2 oz. Applejack
- 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/4 oz. Honey Syrup
- 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Lemon Peel, for Garnish
Preparation: Shake and double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
Sarah Ellis (Sycamore Den, San Diego): 70s Flashback with Dad
At Sycamore Den, bartender Sarah Ellis takes inspiration from her globetrotting dad and his adventures in the freewheeling 1970s. The drinks menu is a nod to that era as well, incorporating everything from blue curaçao to Galliano and even offering a killer Tiki drink – ID required.
Sarah says: “My dad is one of the biggest influences in my life, from getting me my first guitar to believing I can make a true difference behind the bar. His support is so unwavering that I have never felt like there’s anything that I can’t do. That’s how I approach everything in my life, and it is what has helped me to be so driven to participate in programs like Girls with Bols – to show other women they can do anything they want in this industry. Sycamore Den draws inspiration from the 1970s, a magical time when my Dad played in bands in London, met the likes of Roger Daltry at a house party and journeyed to Africa where he romanced a hitch-hiking, aviator-clad California girl, my mom. The space is a modern take on the late 1970s family living room complete with a functioning fireplace and (non-functioning) wall-hung shotguns. The new variations we feature on classic cocktails and our expansive whiskey selection celebrate the zeitgeist of the era when my dad reigned supreme, and I celebrate him every day.”
Drink for Dad: “Growing up my parents used to always whip out the blender and make frozen Pina coladas on Friday nights. If I was lucky they would make a virgin one for me!”
- 1 oz. Galliano L’Autentico
- 1/2 oz. Giffard Banane du Bresil
- 1/2 oz. Blackstrap Rum
- 1 oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice
- 3/4 oz. Coconut Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- Angostura Allspice Bitters, to Top
- Fresh Grated Nutmeg, to Top
Preparation: Whip ingredients and pour over crushed ice. Top with two dashes of Angostura-Allspice bitters and fresh nutmeg.