"At the end of the day, we are just bartenders that like fancy cocktails ... we try to give that passion to the people so they can share in the experience."
-Adele Stratton, Noble Experiment
Tastemaker. Power mom. The real thing. Mixologist Adele Stratton effortlessly exudes vibrancy and know-how, simultaneous with a powerful confidence gained by experience. Part of the charge of female cocktail wizards on the San Diego scene, Adele has forged her way through the restaurant industry and now works within the walls of famed Noble Experiment.
From humble beginnings as a hostess at Craft & Commerce, Adele worked her way up to server, memorized a compendium of 800 cocktails, and "after years of kicking and screaming" became a bartender at the Little Italy hot spot. Today, she is one of the general managers for Noble Experiment, one of Consortium Holding's highest profile bars.
In March, Adele competes as one of five women in Southern California at Speed Rack in Las Vegas, one of the most important bartending competitions in the country. Ladies, let Adele's story be an inspiration, follow your passion and never give up!
I sat down with Adele and asked about her path and inspirations:
Q: Lightbulb moment for mixology?
A: When I was 21, I got into Noble and met Nate Stanton. I love tequila, so he made me a rustic margarita, with honey and smoked salt. I watched him make it with artistry. When I saw the foam top, I thought, how do I do this? I still make that drink five times a night and I tell people that story.
A: Anthony Schmidt and Trevor Easter. Anthony is my bar dad and best friend. (Smiles) Trevor is my other bar dad. To this day they still teach me things. I wouldn't be doing half of things I'm doing now without them.
Q: Favorite spirit?
A: Mezcal is the one I'm most passionate about. Anthony got me into the agave spirits, learning the stories, with each mezcal being so specific. Such great complexity to work with.
Q: Cocktail you are most proud of?
A: The Flycatcher. It's really juicy, tart and complex, and ... it's our best seller on the menu. (Made with Del Maguey Mezcal, fresh lime juice, cracked salt, orgeat, Campari, fresh watermelon juice, and shaken with a watermelon ice cube.)
Author note: It's beautifully deceptive, and deliciously unique. A must-try.
Q: Worst customer ever?
A: I once had a woman take ALL her clothes off in the middle of the bar. She yells out, "This cocktail is so good I want to take my clothes off!" And she did.
Q: Best customer ever?
A: Elijah Wood. He's a regular during Comic-Con, and when he's here, he always makes a cocktail. He loves mezcal, and likes to make the Oaxacan River, with mezcal, crème de cacao and peach bitters. The entire bar gets up with their phones, like the paparazzi! He even stuck around and helped us restock the bar. He's an awesome down to earth guy.
When asked about her life with others at Noble, Adele lights up and remarks, "I can't think of a single bartender that has worked here that I don't tremendously respect. Everyone has had a part in its success, and it's why people come back."
Go see this incredible lady and mixologist at Noble Experiment, and be sure to order The Flycatcher. Cheers!
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.