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Keep Houston Press Free
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Bartender Chat: Melissa Cantu of Bodegas Taco Shop

Melissa Cantu had only been bartending at Bodegas Taco Shop -- she attends nursing school during the day -- for about a week when she was approached by EOW for Bartender Chat. Despite her lack of experience at the place, she put on her game face, mixed up a tasty cocktail and chatted with us about the bar business.

Turns out she used to sling drinks at the sushi restaurant located inside of the Les Givral's on Washington. When asked if she had a specialty drink there, she laughingly said no. What about at Bodega's? Is the margarita her specialty here? She again said no, pointing to Marco, Bodega's bar manager, as the man behind the famously tasty marg.

Whipping out a recipe notebook, Melissa quickly mixed up a tasty drink called "El Fresco." A combination of Grey Goose, peach schnapps, cucumber lemonade and freshly squeezed lime juice, El Fresco was a light, refreshing cocktail perfect for complementing the restaurant's tacos, especially for those who shy away from tequila.

So is this Melissa's kind of drink? "It's good, but I drink Jameson," she explained. When I asked Melissa what she thinks about the whole mixologist-versus-bartender issue, she rolled her eyes and said, "I'm just a bartender. I'm not trying to create a craze, just pay my bills and get through school." That's almost as refreshing as her cocktail.

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