Travis Carter, General Manager at The Havest by the Patio, has been in the industry since the age of 14. Bartendering has given him opportunities to travel, meet awesome people and land bartending gigs in San Diego. Travis has been with The Harvest since they opened up and has been crafting up delicious cocktails. On this episode of Behind the Stick, he utlized Chervona Vodka Spring to create his flavorful and crisp libation called 'I Love Lucy.' which was inspired by the hit TV show and his childhood memories of his Grandma.
I Love Lucy
Courtesy Jarnard Sutton / I Love Lucy / The Harvesty by the Patio
2 oz. Chervona Spring
.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Demerara
.25 oz Fruitlab Orange
1 Egg White
Garnish: Orange bitters and orange peel
What's the story behind the I Love Lucy?
Nostalgia! Sherbet and I love Lucy with my grandmother are two of my fondest memories as a child. Because of the beautiful color Chervona lends, this cocktail comes out a beautiful coral/pink color. Both Lucile Ball and my Grandmother are redheads, so the name kind of just came to me. I know everyone won't have the same story but as long as they are able to connect this cocktail to a memory they can create their own, which is really what cocktailing is all about. Stories.
Describe the taste.
This cocktail tastes like Spring. It is a perfect midday cocktail instead of a rosé that you can have with apps, a salad and some great gossip, ha. It's very balanced, crisp and clean.
What's the key component of this drink?
The key component to any drink is always balance. With I Love Lucy specifically, I want it to have a very nostalgic profile that was very simple, clean and sharp. With the balance of the tart of the cranberry and the fresh citrus I think we achieve that.
What flavors does the Chervona Spring brings to the cocktail?
The flavor the Chervona brings to this cocktail is more about mouth feel. The roundness of the cranberry lingers on your palette through the citrus and sugar which creates a nice full profile. I love the clean, sharp aspect of Chervona Spring.
What reactions are you expecting to get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
Nostalgia! Most likely it will take people back to sherbet on Summer days. It is a very easy and light drinker so hopefully they can enjoy a few with friends and take in all that not only this beautiful spirit but beautiful neighborhood has to offer.
If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?
A spring salad on a patio by the beach somewhere in San Diego, duh. Even though we don't have a patio here, the Harvest Antioxidant Salad would be a perfect pairing.
Watch as Travis Carter crafts up his I Love Lucy cocktail.
Video produced and edited by Jarnard Sutton / Nardcast Media
What kind of experience can guests get at The Harvest?
My goal for this restaurant is for people to treat it like their own homes. We work very hard to implement that family and comfortable atmosphere as a staff, and we are very proud of it. We have regulars that eat here 5 to 6 times a week and we will experience every part of their day with them. From coffee in the morning to work meetings to happy hour to a first date, we are lucky enough to experience all of that with our guests. And to me, there is no greater opportunity in this industry.
What's unique about the cocktails at The Harvest?
Everything! We treat this bar the way a Chef treats their kitchen. We use salt/pepper, yogurt, quail eggs, puree's and jams in nearly everything we do. Our team works day in and day out to be great at what they do. Some of the cocktails may seem a little experimental, but the confidence in which our team has in them will always lend itself to your comfort and trying something new.
About Travis Carter
Photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton / The Harvest by the Patio / Travis Carter
Are you from San Diego?
I am very blessed to be from the beautiful city of Detroit. I have been in San Diego now for four years.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I got my first job in a restaurant 14 years ago as a barback. I actually didn't get paid for four years, I was happy to have the opportunity to learn and they paid me in dinner every night and some tips here and there. The day I turned 18, I started bartending and I never looked back. I started a Beverage Program Consulting company called Spirits On The Run after graduating from the University of Georgia, made a few right turns and here I am. I am very lucky to now have a home with The Patio Group. Managing this brand and this beverage program has been an unbelievable experience, and doing it for my neighbors in my neighborhood of East Village is a great privilege.
What's your favorite thing about bartending?
The people, hands down. Im a very relationship driven person and take great pride in getting to meet as many people as I do on a weekly basis. I have great friends all over the world because of this industry and I have had countless "once in a lifetime" type experiences come from this career path. I'll forever be grateful for that first job when I was 14 and sending me down this road.
Define the perfect cocktail.
Short and brown.
What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?
I study now more than I did at a major University. This industry is full of educational opportunity and that has been disconnected perception wise from why people fall into this line of work. What may have been true 30 years ago definitely is not true now. If I was building a fortune 500 company I would go straight to this work force to field my staff. They are some of the most savvy, adaptable and dependable people you could ever find.
What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?
The Nonino Flip. Its very personal to me and my family, and we build it with a full quail egg!...please come in and let me tell you the story. *Cin Cin*
What's your favorite spirit?
Amaro, specifically Amaro Nonino... for many of the reason why The Nonino Flip is so special to me. It is my blood and how I was raised, special stuff.
What should everyone stock in their home bar?
Great Question! Definitely an Amaro, for after big dinners and it is a great talking point. After that, I am a firm believer that A Gin, a Bourbon and a Rye is all you need in a home bar. Make sure you have a bottle of Bitters, some vermouth and some sugar cubes and you are golden. Know how to make a Gimlet, an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan and you are ahead of the curve.
What do you do in your spare time when you're not working at The Harvest?
I don't have much of that, so not much. But when I am not here I am at home most of the time with my beautiful fiancee and 2 dogs.