Acing the Bar


By Brandon Hernández
Photos by Brevin Blach

Jordan Catapano has created cocktails for celebs the likes of Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx and Bradley Cooper.

Now, the former San Diegan has compiled her A-list-worthy bartending tips in a book, This Girl Walks Into a Bar: A Woman’s Guide to Professional Bartending and Home Mixology.

Raised in La Mesa by two longtime SDSU professors, Catapano, 36, moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a screenwriter. To support that endeavor, she did what many starry-eyed young college grads do. She learned to bartend.

“There were so many women who asked, ‘How did you get into this and how can I do it?’” says Catapano. “I went to the bookstore and all I found were books on how to make cocktails, but no common sense approach for getting into this work.”

Catapano spent two years compiling information on everything from landing a bartending job to maximizing tips and dealing with inebriated customers. The result is a guide that’s easy to follow and includes dozens of fun, real-life stories from her bartending buddies.

The author, who also blogs about San Diego cocktail culture at, says her book’s “3-Day Cram” is a good place for tenderfoot ‘tenders to start.

“There are lots of little tips for practicing before a job interview,” Catapano says. “You can’t fake how you cut a lemon or lime like you can a resume or references.”

The book isn’t just for aspiring pros. It also includes 100 drink recipes and sections like “Cocktail Party 101,” geared toward the recreational mixologist.

In the end, however, Catapano’s aim is to provide practical advice for readers itching to get behind the bar and emerge with fistfuls of cash.

“People are going to drink, whether times are good or bad,” she says. “You can supplement yourself in a job that’s fun and not too stressful-and there are no PowerPoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets to bring home.”

This Girl Walks Into A Bar
By Jordan Catapano; design by Catapano’s sister, Jocelyn Dunn Muhlbach
Available at
The PacificSD

A delicious drink for a pour magazine

Jordan Catapano created a cocktail in honor of the magazine that loves you back. She dubbed the drink “The PacificSD,” describing it as “zesty and refreshing,” with a salt and sugar rim that looks like beach sand.

The List

1.5 ounces light rum
1.5 ounces vodka
1 ounce grapefruit juice
½ ounce blueberry juice
Splash triple sec
Squeeze of 2 lime wedges
Salt and organic sugar combination (for the rim)

The Gist

Mix a tablespoon of salt with a tablespoon of organic sugar together, then spread the mixture onto a plate.

Using a lime wedge, moisten the rim of a “low ball” glass. Place the rim of the glass into the mixture, coating the rim evenly. Fill the glass with ice to just below the rim, being careful not to knock off the salt and sugar.

Fill a martini shaker halfway with ice. Add the light rum, vodka, blueberry juice, triple sec and lime juice, and shake until well mixed. Strain the liquid into the glass.

Drizzle the grapefruit juice over the back of a spoon into the glass, so that it gracefully joins the other ingredients. This keeps the blue base and pink drizzle slightly separate, achieving the effect of a sun setting over the ocean.

Garnish with a lime, colorful straw and tiny umbrella. Repeat.