by Robin Utz
Welcome to Girl Walks into a Bar, a weekly Gut Check feature that spotlights local bars and bartenders. This week Robin Utz profiles the Royale's David Mueth. Below is a Q&A with Mueth followed by the recipe for Mueth's Sazerac.
When Gut Check walks into the Royale (3132 South Kingshighway; 314-772-3600) at 6 p.m. Thursday, it's already busy with regulars. David Mueth offers a friendly and familiar face behind the bar, and he's ready to serve up tasty drinks off of the tavern's extensive list of cocktails, incorporating freshly squeezed juices. If you aren't sure what you want, he's just as happy to serve a suggestion of something new; he's been described as an everyman bartender, with a thorough knowledge of drinks from basic beers to fancy cocktails.
Eleven years of experience have lead to this point in his career. "I started out at Duff's (392 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-0522) when I dropped out of college at the age of 20," Mueth says. "They trained me as a bartender, and I found that I liked it." He continued on to the now-closed Zoe's, where he learned more about making cocktails. From there, he ventured to Pin-Up Bowl (6191 Delmar, University City; 314-727-5555) until the late nights started to wear him out, and has been tending bar at the Royale since March 2008. Mueth's own tastes tend towards whiskey drinks, but he enjoys mixing the variety of cocktails on the Royale menu. (He mentioned that the Mr. Smith we ordered was one of his favorites to make.)
Describe your bartending style in a few words. Surly, attentive, versatile
My bar is the only bar in St. Louis where... BBC World Service broadcasted from upstairs during the 2008 election.
Girl walks into a bar, orders a ____. She just earned my undying admiration. Whiskey neat.
Most dumbass -- or strange -- drink anyone has ever asked for. Southern Comfort and Mountain Dew. She was appalled that we didn't have Mountain Dew, and I was appalled that she was appalled and walked away.
Other than your own bar, where do you go to get a good drink? And what do you have? I don't get to go out as much as I'd like to, but when I do, I enjoy going to Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200). I usually get some kind of whiskey drink and let the servers help me figure out what I want.
If my friends and I simply must have a round of shots, what should they be? If I'm buying, whiskey. If I'm not, orange-lime drops: orange vodka, fresh lime juice, a little simple syrup.
What's the most exciting or memorable event you've witnessed while tending bar? Every year for Dining Out for Life, clowns come in to eat. Mr. Tickles frightens me and always wants to talk to me.
Tell me one thing most people don't know about bartending. You get attached to regulars more than you might expect. A friendly face on a busy night is always a good thing.
Mueth's Sazerac 4 dashes of Peychaud's bitters 1 sugar cube Splash of water 2 oz. rye whiskey Splash of absinthe Set aside an old-fashioned glass filled with ice to chill while in a separate glass, muddle the bitters, sugar cube and water. Add the rye whiskey and stir well. Discard the ice from the chilled glass, and rinse thoroughly with absinthe before pouring the remainder out. Strain the whiskey mixture into the rinsed glass, garnish with a twist of lemon and offer with a glass of ice cubes on the side.