Bartender of the week–Danny Modia
Name: Danny Modia
Bar: Breathe Cocktail Lounge
Where are you from? I was born in Miami, Florida, but my heart is from the Carolinas.
How long have you been bartending? Since 2010
How did you become a bartender? At a young 18, I started promoting for a local club in Miami called “Space,” which is still one of the largest nightclubs around. I took on jobs as a bar-back, bouncer and ended up just falling into bartending. I guess you could say I started from the bottom and worked through the industry learning everything I could. Now, at this point in my life, I have hopes to own my very own bar/tavern one day.
What do you enjoy about bartending? The people! I can’t even put into words how much I love my customers. Honestly, some of my strongest and long-lasting friendships started behind the bar here in the Triad at some of the best restaurants/bars: and now Breathe Cocktail Lounge. My customers are fun, entertaining and loving (well, most of them, anyway). Also, controlling a room and conducting an evening with full capacity, not only do I enjoy bartending/making craft cocktails because every element is handmade, but I can set the pace of how someone’s night is going to go. Everyone goes to a bar to have fun and if you’re not being treated well, well then, your customers are going to leave. They’ll find a new place to go. It’s all about customer service in this industry and building relationships. When you love what you do, you want to do it all the time, and I want to blow you away with my customer service!
What’s your favorite drink to make? This summer, I am creating Breathe Cocktail Lounge’s spring/summer cocktail menu. My current favorite drink to make is, “The Dragon Breath Margarita.” It incorporates the traditional Mexican jalapeño, the passion fruit from Paraguay, and mangoes originating from South America to create a citrusy, spicy and sweet/sour margarita served in a smoked-rocks glass.
What’s your favorite drink to drink? I’m a sucker for a good Old Fashioned. Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Blanton’s, Basil Hayden Bourbon (whatever you like) or Pappy Van Winkle! Luxardo Syrup, Angostura Bitters, and Orange Bitters all served over an ice cube. I always like to put my own twist on them and introduce customers to an array of types from different countries and cultures.
What would you recommend as an after-dinner drink? Well, there’s a lot that could play into that. It depends on the customer and their taste buds, for instance. I get asked all the time for specifics… “Something dry, not too citrusy, not too bold or strong, a touch sweet or acidic and not too overly complicated.” Most of my customers like simple craft cocktails that are refreshing or they like more robust drinks like a Manhattan or a Smoked Old Fashioned. Drinks can also depend on what they had for dinner and what mood they’re in. Like any bar, at Breathe Cocktail Lounge, we have regular customers, and you get to know those customers and their preferences.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while bartending? Working an event at a local venue for over 1,300 customers with one lady bathroom. Never again!
What’s the best/biggest tip you’ve ever gotten? The biggest tip I have ever received was not money but came from a dear friend who quoted Buddha. “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create,” And nothing could be truer. Make sure you come see me at Breath Cocktail Lounge and have the best cocktail lounge experience of your life in little ole’ Kernersville!