Our latest installment of Mixology Spirit took us to Del Primo Ristorante & Bar in Brookfield, CT where we met up with Bar Manager, Alyssa Gilbert. Del Primo is a wonderful Italian restaurant with a large, inviting dining room and a welcoming bar. As you’ll read below, Alyssa has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 16. Her drive and hard work has been rewarded with increasing responsibility. As we chatted with her, she built us a refreshingly delicious White Blueberry Cosmo, which features our popular Blueberry Vodka. It’s an excellent choice to sip this spring and summer! Read on to get the recipe and to learn more about Alyssa’s background and bartending philosophy.
Batchers: What is your official title and role at Del Primo Ristorante & Bar?
Alyssa: I am the Bar Manager at Del Primo and my role consists of creating specialty cocktails, maintaining inventory and ordering supplies. I was promoted to Bar Manager when I was only 20 years old as my hard work and dedication was recognized by the owner and managers.
Batchers: How long have you been working as a bartender? How did you get started in the business?
Alyssa: I have been in the hospitality industry since I was 16 years old. I started working at a local restaurant that had been a staple in the community for over 50 years. I learned how to hostess, serve, buss, run food, and even bartend. I was taught how to make the perfect Manhattan and Old Fashioned, and to this day those are my favorite drinks to make. Unfortunately, that restaurant closed, but I continued to work in the restaurant industry, tending bar during the day and serving at night. It was not until two years ago that I began bartending full time.
Batchers: What do you love about bartending?
Alyssa: My favorite part about bartending is talking with customers and meeting new people. I love hearing about customers lives, their experiences, and stories, and it’s created so many great relationships for me, with many of my customers becoming my regulars, even some my friends. I also love how creative I can be, as I have all the tools and supplies I need to create whatever I want.
Batchers: Do you have a special creative process for creating your own cocktail recipes? What inspires your cocktail creations?
Alyssa: What often inspires my cocktail creations is a person. There are plenty of times when customers come sit at the bar and are unsure of what to drink. I start by asking them some questions about the types of liquor they like–whether they like sweet or fruity, for example, and it usually gives me some ideas of how to craft the perfect cocktail for them.
Batchers: For those at home trying to make better craft cocktails, what advice would you share?
Alyssa: I would share that there are really no rules. You can be as creative as you want and try out new things. Inspiration can be found anywhere, whether it be in a person, an object, or in everyday life. I personally like to go to the liquor store and walk around to get new ideas or see what new products are available.
Batchers: What separates a great cocktail from just a good one?
Alyssa: I believe what separates a great cocktail from just a good one is the ingredients. Great cocktails must have high-quality ingredients.
Batchers: Got a good story about a hard night behind the bar?
Alyssa: I recently created a specialty dessert-martini menu, but initially no one was ordering them. I came to find out that no one wanted a full dessert martini after an entire meal, so I introduced martini flights instead. Each flight comes with three 3-ounce martinis and customers can choose any three dessert or specialty martinis. That simple adjustment really helped increase customer interest.
On one very busy Saturday night, when the bar and restaurant were full, I had to make 13 martini flights throughout the night! These flights are super fun but are very difficult and time consuming to make! I can make three regular sized martinis in no time, but when they are small and the proportions are all different, it’s definitely a challenge. It took quite some time out of my night to craft them, but everyone loved them so much, taking pictures of them and posting about it all. They even came up to the bar to thank me and say how amazing they were, which was really rewarding.
Batchers: What is your favorite Litchfield Distillery spirit to work with?
Alyssa: Del Primo’s owner loves to work with Litchfield Distillery’s wide variety of bourbons, but I personally love to work with Litchfield’s Vodkas, as there is so much you can do with vodka. I particularly love to work with their Blueberry Vodka, especially during the spring and summer months.
Batchers: What does The Spirit of Hard Work® mean to you?
Alyssa: To me, The Spirit of Hard Work means working hard to achieve great outcomes. As a bartender, it means always working hard behind the bar, striving to be the best bartender I can be, and crafting excellent cocktails that satisfy and delight my customers.
Alyssa’s featured cocktail is a “White Blueberry Cosmo.” It features our Litchfield Distillery Blueberry Vodka along with triple sec, white cranberry juice, and fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s delightfully simple and well-balanced. It’s not as sweet as some berry cosmos can be, making this a refreshing cocktail to enjoy as the warmer spring and summer months approach.
- 2 oz. Litchfield Distillery Blueberry Vodka
- 1 oz. White Cranberry Juice
- 0.75 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- 0.75 oz. Triple Sec
- Frozen Berries (optional–gives the drink its color)
- Garnish: 3-4 Blueberries and Lime Wheel
Method: Combine all ingredients (including berries if you choose to use them) in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Double strain into martini glass and garnish with lime wheel and 3-4 blueberries.
Be sure to follow Alyssa on Instagram. To learn more about Del Primo Ristorante & Bar, visit their Website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram. The restaurant is located at 450 Federal Rd., Brookfield, CT. To contact or make a reservation please call (203) 546-7422.
About Mixology Spirit:
Mixology Spirit is a Litchfield Distillery blog series dedicated to sharing the stories of creative and passionate mixologists who embody The Spirit Of Hard Work®. Think you got what it takes to be featured? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2022 Litchfield Distillery. Photography & Editing Credits: Tony Vengrove