This is Rachel Thraves.
Rachel is 34 years old and is from Halifax, where she lived most of her life a part from a couple of years spent in Moncton. She works at Durty Nellys, one of Halifax’s busiest bars and co-creates most of the cocktails on the menu with one of her colleagues.
She has been working in the hospitality industry for 15 years. Back when she lived in Moncton, she was working at a call centre. One day, one of her colleagues told her that she was about to quit her job as a bartender at a night club called Cosmo and that she thought Rachel would be very good. Rachel gave it a go and never looked back ever since. She started up front as a bartender, had absolutely no idea what she was doing and could either sink or swim. Obviously, she figured it out very well and very quick.
For a long time, Rachel was working mostly in high volume bars and didn’t really care about cocktails. There wasn’t much of a cocktail scene in the city anyway. Eventually, she met Cooper Tardivel and Jeff Van Horne, who were working to bring cocktail competitions to Halifax. She decided to take part in one of them and found it very fun and interesting, so she started to participate in more competitions and to learn more about booze. She bought books, read online and fell in love with the world of cocktails and spirits, especially whiskeys. This was six or seven years ago now.
Since her debuts in bartending, Rachel has worked a few manager positions but definitely prefers being behind the bar. She loves the rush and the adrenaline, being slammed on a busy night and having six rows of people ordering drinks in front of her bar. We don’t know Rachel personally, but we have the very strong impression that Rachel is one of those that you want at your side when everything is going down. We are pretty sure that she slams drinks out as fast as a machine and with a smile on top.
Many of the people that we met in Halifax talked about her, saying how impressive she was and how she literally came from being a badass volume bartender to being very involved in the cocktail community and still being as fast and badass. She sure knows a lot about our trade and seems more than willing to share her knowledge with her community.
A little bit more about Rachel
The three words that describe her best: outspoken – fun - hardworking
The biggest lesson her job taught her: How to understand people and not to be so quick to judge them. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
An advice she would offer younger bartenders: Take all the knowledge that you can and learn from the people who have been there.
The first drink that made her fall in love with cocktails: Manhattan. When she was a younger bartender she used to drink rum and cokes. Then one day her husband made her a Manhattan and told her to try this drink because he thought she would like it. And she did. The balance of it is amazing. It’s still one of her favorite cocktails.
The beauty and the strength of our community:The community over in Halifax is amazing. Everyone is supportive of each other, even at competitions. People are helpful, like we are all in this together rather than against each other type of thing. People look down on the industry saying that bartending is not a real job but our community here in Halifax solidified it and had taken it more seriously.