We returned to Bethel, CT to meet up with Taylor Cavanaugh, Manager & Bartender at Prime Pub. Taylor is a talented bartender with experience that includes New Milford’s Zaragoza and Cool Hand Duke’s restaurants. At Prime Pub, Taylor’s delicious cocktails complement the American Gastropub theme and its seasonal rotating menu. A few weeks ago, a social media post from Taylor caught our eye. She showcased a cocktail made with our Strawberry Vodka called “There’s A Place Called Kokomo.” It looked and sounded intriguing, so we reached out to invite her on the blog and learn more!
Batchers: How did you get started in the business?
Taylor: I grew up in the hospitality industry. My dad is in food sales, so on “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” we went to restaurants. I have been working in restaurants since I was 18 years old. When I was 25, I got a chance to work behind the bar one night. I was working at a very busy restaurant in Newburgh, New York at the time and I must admit, I had no idea what I was doing. This was back in the day when bartenders had to flip through a book to find the recipe of a drink!
Batchers: What do you love about working behind the bar and interacting with customers?
Taylor: I love the conversations. I love that my bar people feel I am someone they can trust–whether it’s to keep their personal vents secret or to be as creative as I want when creating drinks for them.
Batchers: Do you have a particular approach to creating your own cocktail recipes?
Taylor: I focus on the flavors and the measurements. Creating a new drink involves a lot of trial and error. It is very similar to the art of cooking; it is a science. Sometimes, the pursuit of getting all the measurements just right means having tons of glasses littered across my work area. Other times, the inspiration is more accessible–I walk away from the drink for a moment and a light bulb goes off and I know exactly what was missing from the recipe.
Batchers: What makes a great cocktail versus just a good cocktail?
Taylor: Creating a great cocktail boils down to the elements and how you build the cocktail. Every cocktail is made up of individual ingredients and each of those ingredients must play off each other in an appropriate way in order to create a spectacular cocktail. The art is in finding the right balance of alcohol, sweetness, acidity, and strength such that each component perfectly complements each other.
Batchers: Got a great story about a hard night behind the bar?
Taylor: I have been working in the restaurant industry for a long time and I do have some crazy stories. But, it’s impossible for me to narrow down all the years into one story! Every day behind the bar, I am a therapist, a life coach, a marriage counselor. I offer tough love and support when needed. I encompass all that in one person.
Batchers: What advice do you have for overcoming adversity?
Taylor: Stop whining and work hard!
Batchers: What is your favorite Litchfield Distillery spirit to work with?
Taylor: I love making a margarita with Litchfield Distillery’s Agave Spirits!! It’s really smooth and I like being able to make my customers a margarita with a local spin.
Batchers: What does The Spirit of Hard Work® mean to you?
Taylor: To me, the spirit of hard work means never putting a cap on my goals, and always reaching further than before.
Taylor’s featured cocktail is called, “There’s A Place Called Kokomo.” It showcases our fragrant, award-winning Strawberry Vodka, which is infused with Connecticut-grown strawberries. If you love fruity cocktails, you’ll love this one. The mango puree brings some sweetness to the drink, but it’s balanced out by the splash of Brut Prosecco, which is drier with less residual sugar. All in all, this is a simple recipe to make with easy to find ingredients that’s a sure-fire crowd pleaser!
- 2 oz. Litchfield Distillery Strawberry Vodka
- 0.75 oz. Mango Purée
- 0.50 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- Top with Brut Prosecco
Method: Add all ingredients (except Prosecco) in a shaker. Shake for 30 seconds–the mango puree is a heavy ingredient so you want to make sure you mix it up well. Fine strain into coupe glass and top with Brut Prosecco. Garnish with lemon wheel.
To learn more about Prime Pub, visit their Website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram. The restaurant is located at 68 Stony Hill Road in Bethel, CT. To contact or make a reservation please call (203) 826-7808. Prime Pub also has locations in Danbury and Somers, NY.
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 email@example.com.
© 2022 Litchfield Distillery. Photography & Editing Credits: Tony Vengrove