April 2014 Bartender of the Month: Trevor Frye
Name: Trevor Frye
Establishment: Head Bartender, Jack Rose Dining Saloon and Owner, Dram & Grain
Recent Gigs: Trevor Frye entered the restaurant industry over 10 years ago as a server at a BBQ joint, and he has worked in every type of restaurant position since. This former line cook and bar back is now head bartender at Jack Rose Dining Saloon. Trevor's expertise falls in whiskey, prohibition style cocktails, and creating craft cocktail menus. Along with his role at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Trevor recently opened one of the most buzzed about cocktail bars in DC, Dram & Grain. His expertise even landed him a spot on Season 3 of Bar Rescue as a whiskey/mixology expert. Most recently, Frye was a speaker at the 2014 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in March dishing on the house-made bottled cocktail trend.
Why did you become a bartender?
I think like most it was initially to pay the bills but very soon after I became enamored with all the different facets of tending bar. Not only creating and making cocktails, but being a mid-week therapist or weekend photographer for our guests, are things that come along with the territory. There’s a certain sacrifice that is made by most people in the service industry, which requires giving up our nights and weekends so that others can enjoy theirs. It’s that aspect that has really motivated me to make sure that every shift, not only am I putting out a great product, but I am providing an experience that each customer will enjoy and hopefully come back for.
What are some fun flavors you’re working with?
I always try and keep the flavors I am working with rotating. Now that the weather is starting to get nice I want to highlight some of the flavors of spring and summer with fresh berries, mint, peppers, and rosemary. I’ve also been having a lot of fun playing with salt, smoke, and fire lately to really add a layer of depth to cocktails.
What are you doing differently?
I’ve been pushing myself to get away from traditional recipes with different spirits and push not only my skills but my customers’ palates as well. A cool example of this was a cachaca drink I came up that used no citrus. Most people know cachaca cocktails like the Caipirinha which are very citrus heavy, I wanted to go the other route and really highlight the flavor profile of that spirit.
What's in the mixing glass or shaker for your customers?
I work in an establishment that is best known for whiskey therefore that is usually my base spirit. I am most frequently asked for a Manhattan and Old Fashioneds and in order to keep the guests excited I usually put my own twist on those classics. However, I love when a customer comes in and totally puts themselves in my hands. I can steer them to some of my favorite classics like a Brooklyn or Last Word. They give me the flavors they like and I pull an audible based on what I have to work with.
What are you sipping on and why?
That’s really a loaded question and depends on the situation, out for a cocktail it’s a Perfect Rye Manhattan, first cut shift drink is a shot of Green Chartreuse and a cold beer, getting home at 4am after a long night is a stiff dram of Noah’s Mill Bourbon or Talisker Scotch.
What are you dancing to while mixing?
Shaking a Drink, Kenny Loggins, Danger Zone. Stirring a drink, Bruno Mars, Gorilla
What are some quirks/quotes you are known for?
Quotes: "No, I am not related to Willie Geist".
Quirks: That Y'all, Darlin, and Fixin are staples in my vocabulary. My mom’s side of the family is from the southern part of VA and my southern accent still comes through even though I’ve lived in DC most of my life. I’ve been told it comes out more frequently and thicker after a beverage or two.