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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hey, Barkeep!: Scott and Co.’s bartender enjoys improvising something new

    Zi Yang Lai

    Kiva Strand, bartender at Scott & Co., prepares a drink for a customer Tuesday, Nov. 3. Strand enjoys learning how to make new drinks.

    Daily Wildcat: Where are you from?

    Strand: I’m from Tucson. 

    Did you go to [the UA]?

    I went to the UA briefly. I also went to Pima [Community College], and I’m taking time off of school right now.

    And have you bartended anywhere else before?

    I bartended briefly for brunch at Penca, and then I started working at 47 Scott, and now I’m at Scott & Co. and 47 Scott. 

    So, do you serve at one and bartend at the other, or what’s the difference between 47 Scott and Scott & Co.?

    It’s the same owner, so the 47 Scott side is the restaurant side and then Scott & Co. is just a bar, so I do both.

    Do you have a favorite drink to make?

    Honestly, I like making drinks that I’ve never made before. There’s quite a few that I’ve never made, so that’s pretty exciting when they order something that I’ve never actually made yet. Currently, my favorite drink is a Coin Toss. It’s a classic cocktail. It has rum, yellow Chartreuse; it’s really delicious. 

    So, when a customer orders a drink that you’ve never made before, what do you do if you don’t know how to make it?

    Sometimes I have to check the recipe if I’ve never made it before, but sometimes, if they order something I’ve never heard of before, I’ll ask them what’s in it and make sure I’m making it correctly. A lot of drinks you want to make sure that you’re getting everything correct and how the guest wants it. A martini, for example, could be made so many different ways, so you want to make sure you’re making what the guest is expecting—if they want a traditional martini with gin and dry vermouth, or just chilled vodka in a martini glass. People have such a wide variety of expectations for martinis, so I definitely like to clarify before I start making it just to make sure.

    What’s your favorite part of bartending here?

    I like all the interactions I get with all the guests. … I like that people are amazed with the simplicity in pouring a drink. It’s kind of like a show that people get really excited about. 

    What made you originally decide you wanted to start bartending?

    I started working in the restaurant industry about five years ago, and I just was curious about all kinds of positions in the industry, like serving and bartending. Bartending I found interesting because it’s similar to cooking, but it’s blending the two. It’s blending cooking and the front-of-the-house interaction with guests, so you’re creating something while serving.

    Do you guys do any special events here?

    We’re opening for the All Souls Procession this upcoming Sunday. We’re usually closed on Sundays, but we’re going to have some punches, and following the All Souls Procession we’re going to open Sunday nights now. We’re going to have discounted drinks. We’ll start being open every Sunday starting [Nov. 8]. 

    Do you have any examples of a memorable customer?

    When I first started, I was still kind of feeling everything out, and this girl came in to order a “New Orleans hot summer day sitting on the front porch.’” And I had to just make up what would fit that description. 

    Did you ask her?

    That’s all she gave me. So she didn’t care what was in it, she didn’t care what spirit I chose—she just wanted to see what I made with that.

    So do you think that’s fun, just getting to make up what you think the drink is?

    It is fun, yeah. I wish more people would do that, because it forces you to get creative. … It forces you to be flexible and really think about the ingredients.

    What do you like being at this bar compared to the last bar you bartended at?

    I like the freedom that we have to experiment, we can really do whatever we want drink-wise.

    Follow Emma Jackson on Twitter.

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