With ambitions to try something new, Cara Stuber left her job managing a bank and started serving tables and mixing drinks in Georgetown at Calamity Jane's. From there she helped open Still Liquor on Capitol Hill. Now she's at Josh Henderson's Bar Noroeste where she pours sips of mescal and reimagined rum cocktails as lead bartender.
What have you been mixing a lot of at Bar Noroeste?
We do have a really good cocktail menu at the moment. One of the more popular ones is the masa y aciete; it’s our play on the corn and oil drink. It’s made with our own house made falernum, four different dark rums, and a little lime juice. I like that our falernum is made with a corn husk syrup. There’s actually corn in it. It seems like people are not only liking the drink but also the story behind it because there’s actually corn in it.
A lot of those and a lot of micheladas. We use our own house made habanero whey sauce, a little lemon juice and a bonito chili salt rim and Seapine peach gose beer.
Do you have a focused bar program or any bar specialties?
It is definitely geared toward working side by side with the kitchen. [Our team] really likes making sure everyone’s working together, like even the corn husk stock and other things for the kitchen that we can use as well— habanero sauces, hibiscus syrups– anything that can just be shared and get in the kitchen, I’ll use it.
What is your most epic bar moment?
I would have to say having regulars, having customers that are regulars that have now turned into friends, who still come and see you at your new bar every time. I’ve already had a couple at this one that have been with me at my bars since the very beginning since I started. And it's just fun, it feels good like you are doing a good job.
If you could guest bartend anywhere, where would it be?
I would have to say the Hideout. I really like the bartenders there. The atmosphere there, they have great cocktails. I love what they do. I think they have fun learning.
Favorite food and beverage pairing on menu?
Our food menu changes every day. The Noroeste tacos are really good with the pork and when I’ve been pairing that for people I’m normally just giving them some good mescal. We have this mescal Vago Elote; it’s a sipper. Keep it clean and balanced, it's not too smoky. It just seems to be a really good sipper while you’re having your tacos.