Hospitality is nothing new to Clara; she actually grew up in the industry. “My mom started a restaurant out in San Francisco when she was in her 20s and eventually returned to St. Louis and opened another restaurant and bar in the old French neighborhood of Soulard. My sister is the executive chef of a catering company and both of my uncles own restaurants. So, I guess you could say the spirit and food industry is in my blood. I bussed my first tables when I was 14 and eventually worked my way up to serving when I turned 18. While working on my political science degree, I continued to wait tables and eventually found myself behind a bar, where I fell in love.”
So what keeps her in love with the work? She answers, “The people on both sides of the bar. First off, one of the most rewarding aspects of working behind the bar is being able to guide guests on their spirits journey. Whether it’s through cocktails or something neat, on the rocks, with cola—whatever. But being able to open a guest up to some new experience they wouldn’t necessarily experience otherwise, and then have them leave my bar excited and pumped and wanting to come back for more is pretty satisfying. It keeps me motivated and passionate about the bartending world and spirits in general. Also, this industry is filled with awesome, expressive and creative people that just want to share their passion with you. It’s a community of like-minded individuals that seriously all support each other however we can. It’s almost like a second family for me.”
Interestingly enough, Clara’s first experience with Angel’s Envy came from the other side of the bar. “I used to work at this neighborhood restaurant/butcher shop. At the time I wasn’t really into whiskey other than a shot of whatever was cheap followed by a beer. But I had these regulars that would come in and order Angel’s Envy all the time. One day I was curious, so I asked them what the deal was. Why Angel’s Envy? To which they explained the port wine finish, how rich it was, how it’s perfect either neat or on the rocks. And then they bought me a pour after work. I was blown away. I guess you could say that Angel’s Envy started my whiskey revolution.”
When she’s not working, Clara still keeps busy with the bartending craft—of a different sort. “I’ve recently been spending a lot of time making candles from old whiskey bottles as a way to recycle and give back to friends and family who have supported me over the years.” Be sure to look out for Clara at Angel’s Envy events around St. Louis. She’s an excellent person to know.