A couple years ago I’ve met Dee Ann Quinones on Dam Square in Amsterdam. She was working as a bartender at 69 Colebrooke Row in London at the time and visited Amsterdam for the weekend. I met up with her and showed her one of my favourite Dutch spots, Wynand Fockink. This small genever and liqueur distillery has been there for ages and it includes a tasting room. Located just behind Dam Square, this time-worn bar is thé place to give the traditional Dutch kopstootje a try. A kopstootje is a small glass of genever with a draft beer on the side, which you sip with your hands behind your back. After the first sip, you are allowed to use your hands though. But enough about genever, let’s get to Dee’s Q&A!
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Dee Ann Quinones and I am the bar manager at Booker and Dax in NYC. I have been working in the hospitality business for nearly 15 years.
Where or how did you learn the tricks of the trade? Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in the industry?
Over the course of the years. I worked as many types of jobs as I could, from lounges, clubs and restaurants. I always wanted to know more and be better at my job. Knowing different ways of service is a huge benefit in this business. I have had many mentors along the way.
What was your first job ever?
I have always been lucky to have mentors, the first was John Orr. He was a crazy bar owner and he took a chance on me to show me the ropes, he taught me a lot about spirits, wines and cigars.
What is your educational background and have you ever done something completely different than bartending?
I have a degree in television and radio communications. I worked in Hollywood for a number of years for E! TV, I wanted to be a producer. I did all kinds of jobs from editing, assistant producing, writing, field producing, graphics, etc. It was fun but I was burned out after awhile.
Do you see yourself tending bar for the rest of your life?
I hope to always be behind a bar, there is no place on earth like it. In the future, I hope to continue building my consultancy and eventually open a few places.
What is it you love about the industry?
I love that no matter what happens in the world, we (bars/restaurants) are the cornerstone for any community or neighborhood. Bars and restaurants are a refuge. We go to them to celebrate, mourn, catch up and everything in between. I love the creativity, the flexibility, the individuality, and the hospitality of it all.
Any things you’d like to see changed in the wonderful world of bartending? Come on, we know it’s fantastic but I’m sure there is something..
I would like to see more training available. Bartending really is apprentice type work. The best get pulled off to do the brand jobs and glamorous jobs, but those working under them often get left behind. Self study is great, I did that for a long time, but then I was fortunate to take my WSET, sommelier certification and other trainings. Self study is not enough and too often reflects in cocktails.
Do you have a theory about why there are less women working in the industry then there are men?
I hope to see this shift in the future. It’s not so much a theory as it is fact, this business is really a male dominated industry. A lot of it goes back to the outdated notions that bartending isn’t a “professional” job and that women shouldn’t be in a bar surrounded by drinking especially if they are going to think about having a family. It’s archaic really. Thankfully more than ever women are taking a stand to the forefront of the industry.
What do you prefer to drink on your day off?
Gin & Tonic
What’s your signature drink?
I don’t have a signature drink, I make things off the cuff for guests based on what they like or what they want to try, they always want to name it after me! “The Dee?!”…that’s weird.
Do you have some advice for girls who would like to start working as a bartender?
I always am pushing for ladies to get behind the bar, I hope that if they want to get into it, it’s to take it to a professional level. Even if they don’t, I would still recommend it, it’s one of the most fun jobs in the world. And, everyone knows that women make more money ;-P
Which lady bartender would you like to nominate to take part in this interview?
Franky Marshall, she’s a badass bartender and does a great job of raising the bar for women in the profession. I love her creativity and spirit.
Franky Marshall it is.. up next!
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