With everything going on in Atlanta and across the United States, we could probably all use a drink right now. However, finding a bar to belly up to is a lot easier said than done. Although Georgia is leading the trend to begin reopening the economy and many restaurants have begun opening their doors amidst strong physical distancing guidelines, bars have not been given the go ahead, meaning many industry bartenders and mixologists are still waiting to get back to work. Across America, millions of restaurant and bar industry workers are still struggling to survive the economic impact of COVID-19.
In this time of crisis, OneLogin wanted to do our part in being of service by partnering with small businesses and entrepreneurs across the United States to support the hospitality and entertainment industry. Our first partnership is with the Louisiana-Texas native, now Atlanta local mixologist, Tiffanie Barriere aka The Drinking Coach. Tiffanie hosted a virtual happy hour with OneLogin’s VP and GM of North America and Georgia native, Drew Prante.
Tiffanie is an influencer and educator in the beverage industry. She is a BarSmart Graduate, Top 50 Tastemakers of the South award winner and James Beard three-time attendant. She spent seven years as the beverage director of the award-winning restaurant and bar, One Flew South, recognized by CNN Travel, Forbes and USA Today, among others. Tiffanie and her cocktails have been featured in publications such as Forbes, Essence, Southern Living, Washington Post, Thrillist, Eater and more. We sat down (and by sat down I mean we e-met on a Zoom call while both sitting) to talk with Tiffanie about life in Atlanta post–COVID-19 and, of course, cocktails.
OL: Tell us a little bit about how you became the “bartender’s bartender” in Atlanta?
Tiffanie: I have always loved people and as a kid, I used to pretend play being a restaurant server with my dolls. In my early 20’s, I started my career in the restaurant industry and within a year I was promoted to District Trainer - it came natural for me. As a trainer, I was able to help people learn how to be kind, serve quality food and drinks, while having fun doing it! My next opportunity was with One Flew South where I was able to lead the beverage department at the busiest airport in the world. Over a seven year timespan, my beverage creativity and ability to tackle the volume of customers coming into the restaurant gained attention. With that, I became an influencer in leading bar programs and was especially recognized for being a woman of color in this role. Women from all over began to reach out to me for advice and asking for assistance running their bar programs, and it just continued to grow from there.
OL: What’s the coolest thing you’ve had the opportunity to do as a leader in the mixology industry?
Tiffanie: There are two memories that come to mind - First, I had the pleasure of creating cocktails for internationally celebrated writer, poet, activist and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Ms. Alice Walker. She had her 75th birthday and scouted me out specifically to make cocktails for her and 250 of her closest friends. Secondly, I created cocktails at the 2018 Oscars for the Top 40 Black Women in Hollywood.
OL: Working at an award winning restaurant and bar in the world’s busiest airport, we are sure you’ve met a cast of characters. What is the most outrageous thing a customer has ever said?
Tiffanie: I’ve served some amazing guests at One Flew South. Lots of actors, sports figures and musicians. One customer told me I was a superhero and then gave me a handmade cape with my name on it to wear while bartending!
OL: What’s your all time favorite cocktail and the one you hate to make the most?
Tiffanie: So many to choose from! I love a classic Old Fashion and I’m a sucker for a Gin Martini. There aren’t too many cocktails I don’t like but I do hate putting coke in ANYTHING!
OL: What was your mixology day-to-day life like in Atlanta pre-COVID?
Tiffanie: Pre-COVID seems so long ago! I wasn’t in Atlanta much, I was on the road traveling across the country teaching groups about cocktails - team building classes, festivals, chef dinners, and conferences were my life. Some of the events that come to mind are being in San Antonio for San Antonio Cocktail Week teaching a class on African American history’s influence on cocktails. Being in New Orleans teaching and judging Stoli Vodka Gay Bartenders Cocktail Challenge. I went to Puerto Rico to host Tales of the Cocktail conference where I spoke on behalf of branding and structure for bartenders after you leave the bar. On February 22, I was supposed to be in NYC mixing cocktails at the James Beard House for the 4th time. COVID took it away from me.
OL: How have you been impacted since the shelter in place and quarantine restrictions went into effect?
Tiffanie: Not sure when I will travel again, or when I will be requested out of the city. Classes are fun here in Atlanta for sure, however representing Atlanta across the globe was the norm for me. It’s been tough for sure - my current motto is “encouraged with a splash of encouragement.”
OL: As an industry leader and mentor to bartenders and mixologists from all over the world, we are sure you have heard of or partnered with groups or organizations to support local businesses and bartenders. Tell us about a couple of your favorites.
Tiffanie: Delta, CNN/Turner, Entrepreneur ORG, Development In The Garden, No Kid Hungry and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra are a few of my favorite organizations to partner with because they always have their hands in the mix - doing on the ground work. I love to help and also love to assist in a good party or fundraiser. Honestly, everyone is still in the air with ideas on what to do and how much budget they have - there are still a million holes for how money will be made in my industry.
OL: Thank you Tiffanie for sharing your stories with us! You have had an amazing career and we have no doubt that you will continue to find new and innovative ways to continue to build after COVID. You can find Tiffanie @thedrinkingcoach on social media and on her website.