St. Louis’s Taste Bar is the rare high-end cocktail den with a killer happy hour. Gerard Craft, the city’s first James Beard Award-winning Best Chef, created the food menu (local charcuterie, tempura bananas, and manchego biscuits), and STL restaurant veteran Drew Lucido helms the bar.
A self-proclaimed “nerd” who worked his way from busser to barback to head bartender, Lucido has been behind the rail of some of the city’s best bars. He celebrated his 21st birthday with a St. Louis bar crawl, and says a local dive is his all-time favorite watering hole.
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
A Plantation Pineapple Negroni on the rocks, please. (Hopefully I remembered to bring my tool bag with me.)
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
I was a barback when I turned 21 so all the bartenders rented a party bus and drove me around to all of their favorite spots. I honestly don’t remember much besides a broken chair and a dunking booth.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
F Manhattan. It’s been around for so long I’m sure it would show me a good time. Marry Negroni. It’s bitter, sweet, and earthy. I’d never be bored. And kill a Margarita. Nothing personal but, having run a Mexican restaurant’s bar, if I never have to make one again, I wouldn’t mind.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
Amaro Sibilla on the rocks with an orange twist. It’s my go-to amaro, and it packs a punch. If I’m going out, I’m going out tipsy.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
CBGB’s in Saint Louis, no relation to the N.Y. one. A great local dive bar, and they have a really good whiskey selection.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
I don’t think there’s any bad bottle. Everything if used in the right way can be great. Outside of taste, I’ve had amazing drinks with spirits in them that, on their own, I would never touch, and I’ve had bad drinks made with some of my favorite spirits.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
Anything with egg white. I know that it gives great consistency and can make some drinks really shine. But there’s just something about that I just don’t like. That being said, I do make a really good Ramos Gin Fizz.