Nightlife & Music

Ask A Tampa Bay Expert: Best Summertime Vodka Cocktails

July 31, 2014 7:00 AM

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With more than a decade in the business, Reagan Ramesar was steeped in the fine bartending traditions of Atlanta, Georgia, before bringing his talents to Tampa Bay. He started out at two Underground Atlanta nightclubs, The House Nightclub and Door44, which he describes as trendy, classy and very high volume. Finally with Stats Foodplay, a fine sports bar, he helped with the creation of the drink menu and bar operations. For his first gig as bar manager, Reagan worked at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, helping to open its third out of six locations. During this experience, he participated in the design and layout of the bar, as well as setting protocols still in use today. He was brought to St. Petersburg after meeting “the love of [his] life” at Tin Lizzy’s and deciding to follow her to her hometown.

After a short stint at Vintage Nightclub in Downtown St. Petersburg, Reagan found his real home as bartender at Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City. According to him, this is the place that he “call[s] home.” During his three and a half years as part of Gaspar’s crew, he said his bond with the husband-and-wife team has grown extremely close, “consider[ing] them to be family.” Here, his knowledge is challenged because he is “encouraged to put [his] skills to the test and flavor drinks in new ways for people to enjoy their experience.” What’s more, as an active member of the United States Bartenders Guild’s Tampa chapter, he stays up-to-date on the latest innovations and applies this information to his daily work, to improve both customer and coworker experiences.

To beat the heat of the summer, and enjoy some delicious vodka-based cocktails, Reagan provided us with three fun, regionally-themed cocktail recipes. These drinks are his own ideas and creations, inspired by his own experiences, as well as what he’s learned throughout his years as a bartender.

Reagan’s Shandy Beach

  • 1 oz Smirnoff orange
  • 1 oz Smirnoff citrus
  • .25 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • .5 oz Shock Top Belgian wheat floater

Shaken and served in a cocktail/hurricane glass, garnished with an orange slice.

Related:  Fruity Cocktails To Beat The Summer Heat

Sweet Georgia Peach

  • 1 oz Smirnoff peach vodka
  • .5 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz sour
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz orange juice

Shaken and served over ice in a highball glass, orange rind garnish.

Gaspar’s Guava Surprise

  • 1 oz Smirnoff citrus
  • .25 oz butterscotch
  • .5 oz triple sec
  • .5 oz sour
  • 2 oz guava juice

Shaken and served in a martini glass with a sugar rim, cherry garnish.

Related: Best Beach Bars In Tampa Bay

Aaron Phillips has experience in marketing and journalism. Recently back to his hometown, he’s excited to discover and share what Tampa has to offer. His work can be found at Examiner.com.
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