Pittsburgh bartender Nicole Battle didn’t set out to work in restaurants. But “somewhere along the way, it became clear to me that doing this was making me happy,” she told The Incline last spring.
Now president of the United States Bartenders’ Guild Pittsburgh chapter, Battle mentors up-and-coming service pros and manages Pittsburgh’s stellar DiAnoia’s Eatery, an all-day Italian-accented bar and restaurant. Her C.V. reads as a roster of some of the city’s greatest hits: Tako, Spoon, and more.
We caught up with Battle to hear why she doesn’t intend to drink any more Long Island Iced Teas in her lifetime, and her favorite place to drink (hint: it’s not a bar).
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1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Beer would be my first choice. If I couldn’t have beer then it would definitely be an El Diablo. My mind was blown the first time I took a sip of one, and I search for bars that know how to make a proper one. Life is good with an El Diablo in hand!
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
Definitely vodka and cranberry juice. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. Eventually, I graduated to the ever-so-popular vodka soda after too many mornings of feeling like crap from all that sugar in cranberry juice.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
F*** – Negroni. In the end, I know I’ll be happier married to a Margarita. Can I have a lifetime affair with a Negroni?
Marry – Margarita – We are going to have so much fun!
Kill – Manhattan – Sorry buddy, I’m just not that into you.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
That’s a hard question. I love IPAs so much and I think that after not having one for such a long while on death row, drinking an IPA right before I’m executed might bring a little bit of joy into my heart.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
I spend enough time in bars for work. If I could only drink at one place for the rest of my life, it would be at my house. Drinks are delicious, music is perfect, and there is always somewhere cozy to sit.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
Not applicable to the bar I work in. It is a small bar with very little space, so every single bottle has been thoughtfully selected.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
Probably a Long Island Iced Tea, although I can’t say that with certainty. I drank a lot of them in my 20s and most of the nights that I drank them are a bit of a blur. As delicious as a Long Island is, I just don’t enjoy being blurry anymore.