Bar Beat

Bartender Chat: Louisa Hamlin of Canyon Creek

If you've been to Canyon Creek, you've likely seen Louisa Hamlin behind the bar. She's been popping bottle tops and mixing up tasty concoctions since they opened a year ago. But this isn't the first time she's worked with The Creek Group.

Louisa has worked at both Dry Creek and Onion Creek on and off since 2003. Although she spent time working in the corporate world, the fun, dynamic, eclectic staff kept her coming back. She exudes that personality as well, with a unique style (she was wearing a feather hair extension and cowboy boots the day we met) and easy personality.

Although she wasn't working on the day that we chatted, she jumped behind the bar and whipped up one of Canyon Creek's new signature summer drinks, the Jack & Blue, a delicious blend of fresh blueberries, mint, lemonade and, of course, Jack Daniels. It was unexpectedly summery and refreshing drink. Be careful of this one, my friends. Here's a little more about Louisa.

What the best part of bartending? Flexibility. You can travel somewhat, you're not tied to a 9 to 5 and two weeks of vacation a year kind of job. The best thing about this place is that everyone hangs out together. One person got a bike (yes, she means bicycle) and now everyone's riding a bike. We take all night bike rides around town.

In 3 words, describe your bartending style. Efficient, I don't waste a lot of time and I help as many people as possible. I think I'm funny. Hopefully some of our customers think so too. I try to make people laugh. It just makes things much better on both sides of the bar. And I think I'm somewhat creative with my drinks. I try to recommend something that somebody's never tried before to get people out of the box a little bit.

If you could ban any drink from bars, what would it be? Cosmos. There's just so many things to experience that I think that one was back in the day before people really knew what to order. But now there are so many different sophisticated flavored martinis you can try. I think people order cosmos just because, so I think if that one wasn't on the menu people might have to get out of the box a little and try something new. Not that that one's bad, there's just other stuff to try too.

Other than your bar, what's your favorite bar and what do you order? I'm definitely going to Liberty Station and I usually drink something off of their list of cocktails. The one I had this week that I really, really liked is called the Sage in Bloom. Or every now and again I'll go with some co-workers to Big Star.

Is there anything behind your bar that is unique and that you might not find at other places? Probably most bars in town are going to do Texas beers and Texas liquors, which we definitely have. Something that we do is called a Country Ass Tea. It's basically Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, some lemon juice, sugar and water and it goes in our frozen drink machine. So that's something you won't really find around town. It's really good.

Is there a recipe you'd like to share? This is a good one for an Old Fashioned:

1 packet of sugar A couple dashes of bitters 1 orange wheel 1 maraschino cherry 1 1/2 shots of bourbon Muddle sugar, bitters, orange and cherry. Top with ice and add bourbon. Shake and serve!

Drop by and see Louisa Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday during the day or Thursday or Friday evenings. She'd love to whip you up a refreshing summer beverage (that frozen tea sounds like a winner) and tell you about some of her biking adventures.

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Carrie Applegate Jaeger