Tools of the Trade is a new series in which we ask chefs, bartenders and other restaurant folks which tools they simply can't live without. Today we talk to Brandyn Tepper, bartender at Hinoki and the Bird.
Ask anyone who's spent an evening at Hinoki and the Bird, David Myers' Century City restaurant, what they most remember, and not far down the list they're sure to mention the cocktails. The drinks coming out from behind that bar are some of the most innovative and delicious in town right now, so we were especially interested to hear what tools bartender Brandyn Tepper can't do without. Some of his responses are a stretch for the word "tool," but we think you'll agree they're essential nonetheless.
4. A 1-oz./0.75-oz. Jigger.
"This specific jigger is essential to me because the basis of classic cocktails use the 1-ounce lime juice to 3/4 simple syrup and 3/4 lemon juice to 3/4 simple syrup ratio. Being concise and consistent in every cocktail you make is possible through the use of a jigger."
3. A great knife.
"Most people don't realize the amount of time spent prepping the bar. Our bar staff at Hinoki is in 2-3 hours before service to prep -- cutting and juicing limes, lemons, pineapple, apples, oranges, etc. Working with a great knife makes life a lot easier when prepping."
2. A sense of urgency.
"While this might not be a tangible item, it's an essential tool I need to not just survive a busy night shift or any shift for that matter, but to do it well. By that I mean executing great cocktails as fast as humanly possible, delivering great hospitable service, all while having a great time in the chaotic and exciting environment of a restaurant at full capacity."
1. A great support staff and fellow bartenders.
"This might sound cheesy but it's true. I can't succeed at my job without the help of a great support staff. It's a total team effort. A great team is an essential tool that I rely on everyday I'm behind the bar, and it's a huge reason why the bar at Hinoki has been the success it has been so far."
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