Behind the Stick with Tony Aversa of West Coast Tavern
Video filmed and edited by Jarnard Sutton / Song called '"Feelin' Strong" by Kazolace
It's fun watching Tony Aversa, bar manager at West Coast Tavern, craft up delicious libations behind teh stick. On this episode, we featured his tasty cocktail called the Foreign Affair. It's crafted with Fortaleza Repo Tequila, Tanquerey No. 10 Gin, Giffard Orgeat, lemon juice and dashes of Fee Bros. Rhubarb bitters.
About Tony Aversa
Are you from San Diego?
I am from Philadelphia originally. I have lived in San Diego for 9 years now.
How did you get into bartending?
When I was young, I worked as a catering server. Several parties got understaffed, and they threw me behind to bar to fend for myself. Since then I have fallen i love with it and worked to perfect my craft.
What's your favorite thing about bartending?
Constant customer interaction. I love the constant flow of new people I meet every day, especially with San Diego being a tourist town. And I love being able to share my passion for drinks with them .
What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?
My favorite fall cocktail is the "Come Rye with Me." It has a delicious balance of rye whiskey, biscotti and saline.
What's your favorite spirit?
My favorite spirit is definitely Whiskey. Straight bourbon to be exact.
Define the perfect cocktail.
In my opinion, the perfect cocktail is simple and spirit forward. My drink of choice is whiskey on the rocks, so I like my cocktails straight and to the point. Maybe a dash of bitters or citrus here and there to elevate the flavor of the spirit.
Any local bartenders you look up to?
One of the very first bartender a met when I moved to San Diego was Jake Mitchetti. He got me introduced a lot into the San Diego bar scene. I've looked up to him, and especially his flare skills for a long time. I visit him fairly frequently at his currently location at OB Noodle house 1502.
If you're going out for a cocktail, what are some spots you like to go in San Diego?
Some of my favorite go to spots include Aero Club, Sycamore Den, Polite Provisions and Noble Experiment if I'm really feeling fancy.
What do you love about the cocktail scene in San Diego?
I love the competition in the cocktail scene here. In my opinion, we are a staple town in the country for advancements in cocktails and mixology, and I love how much pride all of our local bartenders take in their craft. Everyone here wants to be the best and make the best cocktails, and it keeps our industry ever advancing and growing!
What advice would you give people who are seeking employment in the industry?
Best advice I could give, work your ass off and learn everything you possibly can. Don't be afraid to start out at the bottom and work your way up. Most of the best bartenders I know started out as bussers and dishwashers. That's how you learn the most and learn to truly appreciate the industry.
What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?
In the little time I have outside of work, you can usually find me at the beach taking selfies with my dog, usually with a drink in had of course.
What's next for you?
I don't plan on leaving West Coast Tavern any time soon, but hopefully in the near future I will be making some moves to co-own and open a bar!
Note: Interview pulled from previous article: Behind the Stick with Tony Aversa