When Mark Evich became a bartender 28 years ago, index cards were a tool of his trade.
There was no internet to look up drink recipes, so he consulted books and magazines, and took notes on the cards.
Those cards may be long gone, but Evich is still tending bar. His current gig is bar manager at The Cove Restaurant and Lounge in Lynnwood.
Here, Evich, 49, of Everett, talks about the challenges of his job, his favorite cocktails and the most unusual drink request he’s ever had.
How have things changed in 28 years?
Back then, there wasn’t the internet. It wasn’t like going on to drinks.com. You had to research bartender books or magazines and things like that. I didn’t have the access to all the information at my fingertips, which is what we have now, and I learned the hard way. It’s kind of funny: I also took down notes, probably because I’m a bit OCD. I was the guy who had a legal pad and would sit down and find these books and write down these recipes on cue cards. I just didn’t want to fail at anything.
Was that nerve-racking?
It’s intimidating when somebody orders a drink that I don’t know. But it’s repetition, like any job in this world. You do something 100 times over, or 10 times over, and you’re not going to have to look at a cue card anymore. And, luckily, I’ve got plenty of time in the industry. So, that probably helped out a lot.
What has your work taught you about life?
You learn how to save money. It’s a cash-in-hand business. So, it’s really easy to make a lot of money. If you’re not careful with that money, it’s easily slid away. I can’t say I’ve learned any true life lessons. But I’ve learned a lot about human beings, because that’s what you are as a bartender. You’re a bit of a psychologist, among other things.
Do you have any regrets?
If anything, I look back and I’m disappointed that I haven’t been taking notes from the get-go about all the crazy stuff that has happened at the bars, because I think I’d probably have a bestseller. It’s just been a lot of crazy stories. I have to save those stories for people who have a long lunch with me.
What are your favorite cocktails on the menu?
The ones that seem to sell super well are the watermelon lemon drop, which has an Icelandic vodka, watermelon liqueur, and then we use some fresh lemon juice and sour mix and treat that almost like a kamikaze. Another is called I’m Your Huckleberry, which is a play on Doc Holliday’s line from the movie “Tombstone,” and it’s a kamikaze cocktail with blueberry puree, huckleberry vodka with a little bit of triple sec and a little bit of lime juice.
What’s the most unusual drink request you’ve had?
The Pousse-Cafe — and that was a strange, strange thing. Here’s a horrible endorsement for it: It’s not a tasty drink. There’s nothing good about this drink. It’s literally like seven different liqueurs, and it’s one of those fancy things that you can layer and put a cocktail napkin behind it and go, “Oh, I can see the Grande Chartreuse.” It’s the weirdest thing, though, and it’s also the most frustrating thing because it’s time-consuming. You can’t go fast with a thing like that.
What kind of bartender are you?
I’m tenacious. I don’t hold much back. I’m very honest to everybody. And I am also very fun-loving.
Where is your ideal place to relax and sip on a cocktail?
I have two family cabins over in Leavenworth. I don’t get to go there nearly as often as I’d like to because of all the hecticness. Either that or along the Wenatchee River. That’s the place to be.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
The Cove Restaurant and Lounge, 402 164th St. SW, Suite 106, Lynnwood, is open from 11 a.m. to to 1:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 425-745-4777 or find The Cove Restaurant and Lounge on Facebook.