The AVEC team got the opportunity to sit down without one of dear friends, Joey Hayes, to learn how to make an elevated Paloma and for a quick chat about bartending, Orlando strip clubs, and keeping the fun in drinking. Joey is the beverage director of Short Stories, a popular (and crazy!) bar in the East Village. At Short Stories, you can find everything from AVEC cocktails, insanely good brunch pancakes, late night chaos, and a disco shark. Read on to learn more about Joey and find a Paloma recipe waiting for you at the end.
So, okay. From the top. Yeah. What's your name? Where do you work?
My name is Joey Hayes, and I am the beverage director at Short Stories.
How did you get into bartending?
I feel like I always kind of secretly wanted to be a bartender. I was living in Florida at the time, and I knew that no one was going to give me a job just out of nowhere. So, I decided to do one of those bartending schools when I was 18. I got my certificate and everything. I was like, "alright, great. I think I can finally get a job now." I asked myself "what's the only place I could work at where they probably aren't gonna look at my resume and they'll probably just look at me and give me a job?" A strip club. So, my first bartending gig was a strip club in Orlando, Florida. This is a lot about me. It is all making sense now, right?
I asked myself "what's the only place I could work at where they probably aren't gonna look at my resume and they'll probably just look at me and give me a job?" A strip club. So, my first bartending gig was a strip club in Orlando, Florida.
An exciting adventure! What followed the strip club stint?
From there I actually went to school for Fashion Design and Merchandising worked as a data analyst in e-commerce divisions and stuff. But I realized that the corporate life wasn't out for me. I decided to go back to bartending for a little bit just to get some extra cash. And I started working in a place that I like really fell in love with and from there kind of just progressed year over year and to wanting to learn more, do more and all that fun stuff. So here we are now. It is what it is, you got to do what you got to do, you know?
Totally. What parts of bartending are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about changing the culture.I feel like there is a certain type of look and person that has dominated the field of mixology and craft cocktails for the last 10 years. I’m looking to do some thing that is more approachable and less pretentious — something that is fun!
Do you think fun is essential for drinking?
Absolutely. I mean, I think that's kind of like the whole pivotal thing that's bringing us all together. That's why we want to go and have a drink. You know, we've been stuck in quarantine and stuck inside your places. We had to learn how to do drinks at home. And I think people are really taking a liking and interest to learning how to do their own cocktails. But at the end of the day, we were considered some of the like front runners as essential workers. And we were almost speaking of being considered essential because people wanted to interact at a bar again, that's the fun element. Right? Like that's, that's the connection. That's the fun. That's that's the culture to me that I think we've missed for the last year and a half.
Fun has definitely been missed. Speaking of fun, here is a fun question: what is the most overrated drink right now?
Aw, man… I guess… an aperol spritz. Look, I actually love bitters and aperitifs... but I think most people are just hungry for a colorful drink that is more interesting than their bottomless brunch mimosas. I think the New York Times just sat down and decided “we are going to make this THE drink of summer.”
An Elevated Paloma
2 oz. Mezcal
.5 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Agave Syrup
2 drops of Orange Blossom Water
3 oz. AVEC Grapefruit & Pomelo
+Wedge of Grapefruit for garnish.
Pour mezcal, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and agave syrup. Drop in orange blossom water. Add ice. Shake, shake, shake. Strain and pour into a glass. Add ice. Top with AVEC. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.