If there is such a thing as getting into the bar business for “the right reasons,” then Christina Klein’s story is the closest I’ve heard.
“I was first put behind the bar in the late 90s at a resort in northern Wisconsin. I wasn’t yet of drinking age, and not being a very rebellious youth, I had little knowledge of the various attributes of drinks. I just knew I loved making them. ‘Big Doug,’ as he was known, trained me as he sat on a barstool. He taught me the names of all the guests and what they liked to drink, and how to mix a lemon drop in a rocks glass and strain it with a beer coaster. Of course there was a lot of shooting the breeze, dirty jokes, and fishing stories. I was sold.”
Klein’s signature drink, The Standard, was hatched on a recent visit back home to Wisconsin, where she became inspired by the state’s abundance of fresh cranberries. Of course, there’s no shortage in Maine either. After a few test runs with the family it was back to Sonny’s to get serious, tweaking the drink until settling on Double Cross Vodka muddled with fresh mint, vanilla bean, lemon juice, and a cranberry-infused honey syrup complemented by a dash of orange bitters. Her creation has been well received at the bar and cocktail competitions alike, although Klein admits that at the end of the day, “My go-to is a cold bottle of Budweiser alongside a shot of Herradura.”
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