Women raise the bar in mixology scene

“From New York to Hollywood

It’s ladies night and girl the feeling’s good”

- Kool & the Gang

Mixology and cocktail culture may have started out with the boys, but women everywhere are honing their chops to take center stage behind the bar.

Hailing from New York, New Jersey, and right here in Ocean Beach, these ladies have exploded onto the local mixology scene with style, grace and serious talent. I sat down with Christy Spinella, Adele Stratton, and Meghan Balser and asked them about their experiences.

(Author note: Both Stratton and Balser have been featured in DiscoverSD’s In the Mix column. Find those here and here. Stay tuned for an upcoming feature on Spinella.)

Q: Was it intimidating to come into a profession of primarily men?

Christy Spinella: Yes, it always is, but you just have to be a boss about it!

Adele Stratton: It was the fact that I didn’t see more females behind the bar that made me want to do it.

Meghan Balser: For sure. Luckily, it wasn’t too intense here, because everyone is so welcoming in this community.

Q: Do you ever feel your gender is an issue behind the bar?

CS: No, I think that confidence is the best thing you can own. You have to be willing to work

hard, no matter your gender. I don’t think it’s an advantage or disadvantage.

AS: I don’t think it’s about gender, I think it’s about ability. When you start using gender as an excuse, it becomes a handicap.

MB: No, if anything it’s an asset.

Q: What’s the worst pickup line you’ve gotten?

CS: “Your eyes are so beautiful. Are they real?”

AS: “Would you like to come over and make me cocktails in the morning?”

MB: It was a creepy note that said, “I would like to return the favor, with favor underlined and a phone number.” What?

Q: Current favorite spirit?

CS: Whiskey/bourbon. No matter if it’s stiff and direct or blended, it’s fun.

AS: Mezcal. It’s my lifeblood and my one true love.

MB: Agave spirits.

Q: Current favorite cocktail?

CS: The Ghostrider from the Ironside menu. (made with bourbon, Amaro Meletti, and black walnut bitters).

AS: Mai Tais. I love serving them to guests, and it makes people smile.

MB: Rosita, a tequila Manhattan.

Q: Least favorite drink to make?

CS: There’s not one. Sure it’s difficult to make a super complicated drink when I’m being crushed in the well, but I don’t dislike it.

AS: The cocktail that someone gives me the specs to.

MB: Whiskey sour with egg white.

Q: Most ridiculous request?

CS: People not understanding their limits, and going completely over the line. Like a punch bowl to themselves. Or a double chardonnay.

AS: “Give me the manliest drink you can make.”

MB: Vodka and sugar free Red Bull. In a whiskey bar.

Q: “Dear patron...”

CS: Remember the golden rule: Treat me like you want to be treated.

AS: Say please and thank you.

MB: Please stop playing drums with your credit card.

Q: Favorite bar for a cocktail, outside of your own?

CS: Polite Provisions.

AS: Sycamore Den.

MB: The Lion’s Share and Cantina Mayahuel.

Q: Shout out to?

CS: My boys, Aaron Zieske, Frank McGrath, Erick Castro.

AS: Jesse Ross and Eric “Shrimp Toast” Long.

MB: Luke Jackson and Lurie De la Rosa.

With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 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

Source: DiscoverSD