Blackbird, a friendly neighborhood bar in the Castro district, offers something more than just alcohol and music. Near the corner of Church and Market streets, Blackbird has a great happy hour where bartenders are serious about making their drinks. They provide specialty cocktails that are made with creativity and passion. With quality drinks and beers that are brewed in-house, Blackbird is sure to entice your taste buds. Bartender Regina Schauerte tells us about creating her own specialty cocktail from scratch.
Where are you from? I’m from El Paso, Texas, and was raised in east side to south side San Jose. Then I moved to San Francisco and lived here for about 12 years.
Why did you become a bartender? It was kind of by chance. I originally moved out to San Francisco for film school, which I did and graduated, but while I was doing that, I was servicing in the bartending industry and was always surrounded by alcohol. I also became a bartender to pay for school while waitressing. I was working in the television production field to utilize my degree and working to make a living in The City.
Do you get regulars here? Yeah, we do. Our entire bar staff is so consistent, they can come on any given day. Our regulars come in often and we know what they want.
Why did you decide to bartend in San Francisco? Well, the opportunity was given to me. It’s a hard job to get and it’s very competitive, so I jumped on the opportunity. It’s funny because people ask me, “Where did you learn to bartend?” and I just learned as I waitressed. A lot of my inspiration for drinks comes from food.
What’s the ambience like in Black bird? It’s a neighborhood bar and it’s very comfortable. People in the neighborhood and from work come to our bar to chill out.
How long have you been here? In July, will be three years here. And I’ve been bartending for six.
What’s the most popular drink here? So, we have specialty drinks, drinks that Blackbird makes. From our menu, I would say the Bullfighter is a popular drink. It’s a sophisticated margarita with interesting ingredients. Ninety percent of the syrups we make are in-house. In the Bullfighter, it has red wine syrup with Cynar, an artichoke liqueur, which pairs well with the red wine. The red wine that we have is vegetal, so the artichoke and the bitterness mix well together. It also contains fresh cracked black pepper and reposado tequila, finishing with lime and a salt rim.
What’s your favorite drink to make? All of our drinks are pretty labor-intensive. A lot of muddling, shaking, stirring are involved. We have to adapt to all of them equally. I came up with a new drink, which has gin, quince jam, lemon, celery shrub and topped with a pilsner beer. I think it’s a perfect summer drink because it’s fresh and vibrant.
When it gets busy, does it get overwhelming for you? No, actually. I think we are all used to the volume since we’re fast and efficient. When I come to work, it’s almost like a mini break. I come to work to relax and go with the flow. People are here to have a good time. We’re making their drinks and it’s nothing worth getting frazzled over.
Stir and pour over fresh ice in old fashioned glass. Then garnish with orange twist.
Note: Cocktail is barrel-aged for six weeks