Before beginning her career as a bartender at the age of 21 (almost 12 years ago), native Ohioan Emily Wilcher worked at McDonalds, a sporting goods store, a grocery store, a frozen yogurt shop, and earned her cosmetology license. She then tended bar in Brooklyn and Nashville before moving to Seattle about three months ago and landing her current gig at Witness.
Here, five questions for Emily.
What's the most underrated spirit? I am torn between mezcal and rum, but I'm going to say rum. Most people are introduced to things like Captain Morgan and Bacardi, and those are not correct representations of the complex spirit that rum is.
What's everyone ordering at Witness these days? The Son of a Preacher Man is the jam here: bourbon, sweet tea, fresh lemon juice and house-made honey liqueur. We also offer the Divine Intervention, where we consult with a guest about what they would like and then create an original cocktail for them. It's really fun and gives us a creative outlet.
What's the best drink you make? I love tiki drinks and sort of deconstructing them. So when someone orders "a rum cocktail," I get really excited. Tiki cocktails in all their glory are not for everyone all the time. I like the idea of creating the same flavor profile with different ingredients, such as using coconut water instead of CoCo Lopez.
What current cocktail trend is completely overrated? Any cocktail that takes too long to make. People want fast and delicious results, which is totally feasible without taking 20 minutes.
What is the craziest thing you've ever seen happen in a bar? Well, the first craziest thing is probably too much [for publication]. The second craziest moment was dancing on the bar with 11 other people, while working.