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Bartender Lucy Yepez's Favorite LA Happy Hours

Lucy Yepez - whiskey lover and cocktail guru recommends her top happy hours and favorite whiskey for her special LA peeps.

Hi Lucy, tell us something about yourself

I'm a single mom that loves the bar industry. I love creating cocktails. I've also been lucky enough to have been educated profoundly in whisk(e)y, I love the entire process of making whisk(e)y. I've been to many distilleries and wish to make it to many more, next I would love to go to Japan!

 

How according to you has the role of the bartender evolved, especially now during covid times?

I've had to get creative on how to host virtual whiskey tastings. My friends and I get together via Zoom every few weeks and taste at least 5 different whiskeys. We talk about them and learn about them together. All for fun because we just miss drinking whiskey with friends and socializing. At the last tasting we had we tasted whiskeys from around the world. 

What inspired you to be a bartender? 

I started off as a server when I was 21yrs old at a pretty happening restaurant at the time.  I would always notice the bartenders having so much fun and able to have more freedom than a server.  When I would go pick up cocktails for my tables from the bartenders, I would try and memorize all the ingredients they used for all the cocktails and I would always ask the bartenders tons of questions. I served for about a year and then my day behind the bar came.  One of the bartenders couldn’t make it at the last minute so the manager asked if I wanted to bartend for her and I was so excited and terrified at the same time. I got behind the bar that night and never looked back. I loved the feeling of being behind the bar, the energy, the hustle, all of it. The manager thought I did such a great job that he gave me only bartending shifts from then on. I got pretty lucky!

What are some of your favorite memories of your bartending career?

Oh wow! That’s such a big question because I’ve had SO many.  I’ve always thought that bartending is my going out. Getting behind the bar and putting on my towel has always been so exciting. One of my favorite memories is one New Year’s Eve bartending at Seven Grand, everyone was dressed so nice (all the guys had to wear tuxedos and the girls had to dress up), the room was filled with balloons, the DJ was playing amazing music and it started off so well put together UNTIL it all fell apart as soon as 12AM hit, everyone went crazy. Bottle after bottle of champagne was sprayed across the room and none of the girls even cared at all (which is VERY surprising). Everyone was so happy that year, I think it was 2016. All the bartenders were very synced in, everything ran smoothly and if you’re a bartender in a very busy bar you know how important this is. All the customers were amazing and there were surprisingly no fights.  That New Year was one for the book! After we closed at 2 AM we counted our money and cleaned up as fast as we could and went and partied at one of the sister locations until the sun came up, it was an epic evening!! It never even felt like I actually was at work!

What are some of the most important skills for a Bartender?

Our sense of smell is very precise, our taste goes without saying.  Also, if you don't know this, they say that women have more taste buds than men ;-) 

Where and what do you drink when not working?

I drink Old Fashioned or Whiskey mules 

Your favorite places for happy hours?

Prank Bar, Casa Vega, Forman's Whiskey Bar.

What new spirits are you tasting right now?

I tried the new Nikka Days (Japanese whisky) and it's delicious!

Where do you currently work? 

Seven Grand LA Whiskey Bar. Stylish watering hole with hunting lodge decor, old-school cocktails & a massive whiskey selection.

If you had to pick your favorite whisky, which one would you recommend to LA people and why?

First off, I love all kinds of whiskey so picking 1 is very hard, but if I had to pick 1 for my LA folks I would pick "Pikesville Rye”. This rye is so well-rounded, but with a kick.  It’s a 6yr Rye that’s 110 proof!  It's made in Kentucky at the Heaven Hill distillery. I’ve had the pleasure of actually going to this distillery and picking out a couple of barrels of whiskey there. They make tons of beautiful whiskeys, like Rittenhouse Rye, Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald & many more. Pikesville Rye is smooth with vanilla notes, caramel notes, pepper notes, some dried fruit, some spice & cloves. I’m picking this whiskey for my LA peeps because being an LA native we come from a city that has so many different cultures and we’re lucky enough to have the ability to find anything we would ever want here. I feel like LA peeps are very nice and sweet, but if you rub us the wrong way or do something wrong we definitely have an edge, kind of like the Pikesville Rye!

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