Minneapolis-based bartender Trish Gavin was brought up in the industry.
Her uncle Tom owned a bar in Chicago, which is where she learned the craft. After realizing her love for the flavors, hustle, and pace, her passion for being a bartender grew. This experience has led her to where she is today; making something for someone to make them smile.
Where do you tend bar now? What makes it unique? Distinctive drinks, décor, a certain vibe?
I direct the Beverage Programs at Lat 14, Lemon Grass Thai, and Khaluna in the Minneapolis metro area. All three are vastly different concepts—some days, I get to step into the Tiki realm (Lemongrass), Asian craft (Lat), and really technique and ingredient-driven (Khaluna). It’s a female chef/owner and all-female upper management, and it’s refreshing to get the opportunity to be a part of many different ideas.
Who has been most influential in your development as a bartender? A mentor, a parent, a fellow bartender, and why?
My uncle Tom—who had a bar in Chicago. He insisted on a hard day’s work, going home feeling like you did your best, always looking for a better way to do things, and how to make someone feel at home immediately—whether with a quick joke, a smile, or a handshake.
Do you have any advice for novice/at-home bartenders?
Be okay with making mistakes. There’s not a better way to get to know what you like than to make a drink, try it, figure out what you want out of it the next time, and keep honing it in.
What is your favorite ingredient right now, and why?
I’ve been enjoying playing with Lactic Acid in my Tiki drinks; it imparts a different mouthfeel and balance than anything else.
How do you go about creating a new cocktail? Is there a specific process or simply a moment of inspiration?
A lot of my ideas come from my dreams. It sounds cliche, but I’ll go to sleep and wake up with two or three ideas. When I’m guiding my staff, I ask them for a feeling or an idea, and we lay the groundwork with that and then do the adding and subtracting from there.
Do you have a special technique you use or a tip for making a particular drink?
I love adding two dashes of Bittercube Cherrybark Vanilla bitters to a Sidecar. It’s <insert chef kiss here.>
Where do you see the bartending/cocktail culture headed?
I see it going towards more accessibility. There are lots more non-alcoholic offerings, sugar alternatives, etc.
Here’s a cocktail made by Trish.
Hot Girl Summer
- 1/4 oz. Soju
- 1/4 oz. Mezcal Verde Momento
- 1/4 oz. Aperol
- 3/4 oz. Lime
- 1 oz. Dill Aquavit
- 2 oz. Salted Watermelon Cordial (Watermelon Juice with sugar and citric acid added)
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