Maggie Burton is the cocktail director at Bluewater Organic Distilling in Everett.
When she’s not thinking of new spirits for patrons to enjoy, she’s behind the bar serving drinks. Here, Burton, 29, of Everett, talks about what got her into bartending, which celebrity she’d like to serve and the most unusual drink she’s ever made.
When did you know you wanted to be a bartender?
I started working in a restaurant with a craft cocktail bar at age 15 and was so impressed with their mixology and ability to read the customer and always hit the mark, creating custom cocktails for so many guests. During my time there, the team started teaching me all about bartending and I realized that there was an endless amount of opportunity for creativity.
What were you up to before?
I was a gymnastics instructor.
What kind of bartender are you?
I believe there is no customer I cannot please. I enjoy giving each guest an individual and unique experience and build cocktails through a culinary lens, focusing on flavor pairings, and making adventurous cocktails approachable. It’s more than creating cocktails for me — I like to bring the curious customer into my world and educate them about what I know best.
If you were a drink, what would it be?
I would be one of my favorite creations, The Hot Shot — a spicy gimlet made with Halcyon Gin, jalapeno-and-cilantro infused Bluewater Vodka, ginger, lime, celery and cucumber — but I would add a bit of mezcal.
What’s your favorite drink to mix?
Rather than a specific drink, I love creating something unique for someone based off their personal preferences. It’s an exciting challenge and I learn something new every time.
What was your most unusual drink request?
When people have very specific restrictions or taste preferences. One time, a customer was allergic to citrus juice, but wanted a bright, citrus cocktail. I ended up making her a cocktail that she loved using citric acid and citrus oils.
If you could serve a celebrity, who would it to be?
I would serve Anthony Bourdain because he always inspired me to look at how and what other cultures drink. With his culinary background and love for a good drink, I have so many questions that I wish I could ask him.
What would you make him?
I would make him a flight of cocktails, calling it The World Tour, using as many spirits and ingredients from around the world I can get my hands on.
What do you pour yourself at the end of a shift?
After a day of mixing so many cocktails, I honestly like to enjoy a pour of Halcyon Gin or Wintersun Aquavit on the rocks.
What’s one thing you tell others about bartending?
Learning the history of spirits, the rules behind the bar and a good repertoire of cocktails provides the foundation you need to eventually turn it all on it’s head and break the rules — that’s when the creativity and fun begins.
If you go
Bluewater Organic Distilling’s cocktail bar, at 1205 Craftsman Way No. 109, Everett, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Call 425-404-1408. More at www.bluewaterdistilling.com.
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