Ashley Wardle works for VOS Selections, a distributor in New York focusing on organic, sustainable wine and spirits. Hailing from Long Beach, CA. She resides in Brooklyn, NYC. She made that move in a 40-year-old RV. More on that RV in a bit.
“No superpower, just years of practice”
1) When did you first get into bartending, Ashley?
“My first bartending job was at a golf course, I was the beer cart operator until a bartender didn’t show up one day and they threw me behind the stick. I worked my way up from there. My first real craft cocktail job was working for Robert Yumul at Brooklyn Girl in San Diego. He was my mentor, we spent many nights immersed in the San Diego cocktail scene and many days creating inventive drinks.”
2) Do you recall the cocktail that first sparked your interest in the craft cocktail scene?
“It was a Ramos Gin Fizz. That was the first drink I had that came with a history lesson. I became hooked on the history and social context cocktails. Not to mention the fizz was perfection.”
3) What do you love about bartending?
“I recently made the switch from full-time bartending to working with a distributor. My favorite aspect of bartending was always been getting to meet great people, both coworkers and patrons. Now I get to spend my time meeting bar owners and managers who are passionate about what they put behind their bars.”
4) You used an RV to move from California to New York. What got you thinking about driving that RV to Tales of the Cocktail to serve drinks?
“Originally this was supposed to be a vacation.”
“I wanted to go to Tales of the Cocktail and experience New Orléans. I thought I could do baRV since people in Brooklyn seemed to really like the idea. I asked Jodi if she would be interested in coming along to bartend with me and the project grew from there.”
5) How did you assemble the baRV crew?
“All of the bartenders were friends of mine who bartend around Brooklyn. The best part was that none of them had met each other until they got in the RV headed to Tales of the Cocktail.”
5b) Tell us a bit about each member that travelled with you and what they brought to the mix?
“Jodi is my good friend. She works at two bars in Brooklyn. One is a high volume venue and the other is a charming little Greenpoint bar called Oak and Iron. She has so many regulars at both spots because she is warm and fun to be around.”
“Josh works at The Richardson, one of my absolute favorite bars in New York, where he makes the best libations. Every time I go in we chat about new spirits and recipes. I knew he would bring creative cocktail ideas to the table.”
“Jericho bartends at Royal Palms where he put together a great drink list. He is also a stand up comedian hosting a weekly show called the Bushwick Bears. I knew this trip was going to be a bit stressful and I wanted to add some comic relief. As it turns out, Jericho can fix a carburetor too, a non-essential bartending skill anywhere but baRV.
Adrienne manages a jewelry store called Brooklyn Charm. She came along to answer the phone and handle the money.”
6) What was a highlight of the trip?
“The first time we broke down was in Lagrange Georgia and we’re stuck there overnight. We spent hours talking in the hotel pool in the rain. That evening we did the worlds smallest bar crawl ending with Bahama Mammas at Applebee’s. You get to see people’s true colors when they’re faced with adversity and in that moment I couldn’t be more happy with the people I chose to share this adventure with.”
7) Were there any parts of your journey that got sketchy?
“The third time we broke down was in Bayou Sauvage, just outside New Orléans. According to locals this is where people dump bodies and burn stolen cars.”
“The tow truck could only take two of us so the rest took a cab while Jericho and I waited. That was a little dicey, with even the cabbie reluctant to come get us, but it also made me feel alive.”
8) The excellent cocktail you made us, Cross Pollination, included honey you made. Tell us about your beekeeper skills?
“I’m so glad you enjoyed it, I toyed with the recipe for weeks. I started beekeeping years ago in Western Colorado. This year I started Urban beekeeping, which presents a different assortment of challenges. These hives are on my rooftop in Crown Heights Brooklyn, near the botanical gardens. As a result the bees have produced bright and floral honey that I can’t get enough of.”
9) You had a videographer, Mary Attaway on the RV to film your adventure. What do you plan to use the footage for? How can people see the edited work?
“My friend Mary Attaway came along for the adventure and documented the experience. While I’m not excited for the world to see what I look like after being abruptly awoken by a steaming engine at 5:00 AM, I’m glad she was there to document this adventure. What we thought was going to be a story about bartending during Tales of the Cocktail really turned into something completely different. I’m not sure what story will be flushed out in the editing process, but I’m excited to see it. If people are interested in seeing the final product they should follow us on Instagram @barvbrooklyn where we will post all the details.”
10) Would you do baRV again? What would you improve for next time?
“In a heartbeat. This particular RV is my baby but it’s 40 years old so we may have to keep her in Brooklyn and buy baRV #2 for these long adventures. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the crew, or the cocktail list, I think I assembled the best bar team in Brooklyn.”
Cross Pollination, by Ashley Wardle
“This recipe is called Cross Pollination because all the ingredients rely on pollinators, an important part of our ecosystem.”
2 oz Las Hormigas Mezcal
.75 oz rooftop honey syrup
.75 oz lemon juice
3 dashes Greenbar Bar Keep Organic Lavender Bitters
5 drops orange flower water
Shake and strain, garnish with lavender sprigs.
“This trip is one we will be talking about forever. In fact the trip meant so much, the four bartenders from the trip are getting baRV tattoos together”