Bartender of the Month – Cage Unger

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Blasé Café & Martini Bar
5263 Ocean Blvd, in Siesta Key Village

Name of Bartender? Cabe Unger
Hometown: Sarasota, Florida

Q: What’s your bartending experience and how long have you worked at Blasé Café & Martini Bar?

I am currently in my sixteenth year in the service industry. I’ve worked in dive college town bars slinging cheap suds, upscale country club venues, craft beer bars, the works.

Q: What drink have you perfected?

I feel strongest about my classic gin and vodka martinis. There are a variety of factors that determine just how each individual likes theirs. Over the years I have had the good fortune to experience thousands of slight variations of martinis, and I feel like this translates directly to the ability to match each client with a cocktail they are really going to enjoy.

Q: What was the strangest or funniest experience you witnessed or were party to at work?
In the course of my work at Blasé, I have taken on an apprentice, Mr. Michael Duffy. He is an incredibly talented up and coming young bartender with a real passion for the craft, and recently we were both complaining to each other that we can’t figure out how our co-worker makes such perfect chocolate martinis.

See, we are really interested in being able to perfectly re-create the perfect martini experience, and we live in constant jealousy over our coworker Taylor Toelle’s ability to craft the perfect chocolate martini every time. The frothy head is thick and luxurious, and the flavors are rich and deep, and the whole thing is a sensual experience, and it’s impossible to float a really magnificent design on top of any lesser chocolate martini, so she sort of wins in every category right every time.

We use the same ingredients, and try to copy her technique, but we have so far been unable to duplicate her results.

It drives us crazy, and we were up late recently drinking together trying to figure out her technique. It’s like a Kung Fu movie. A rival practitioner has shown us a technique neither of us knows, and now master and student are in a race to see who can capture it first.

We determined that the only thing for it was to capture video of her making a chocolate martini so we can slow the footage down and debate over her actual technique.

So, while having this conversation, I realized I was part of a community of serious cocktail weirdos, and it made me feel really good, like my life as a bartender meant something, and that I was part of a bartending community.  And it feels a little strange when your life becomes more like a movie than usual, so it was a pretty good experience.

Q: Any hobbies, goals, etc. you enjoy when not working?

I enjoy reading and drinking craft beer in bed, calligraphy, daydreaming, and going rambling with my friends.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

I am a nice Jewish boy.

Q: What makes Blasé Café & Martini Bar a special place to visit?

Our ownership is really great about getting us anything we need to make the best cocktails possible. All citrus is squeezed from fruit cut fresh right in front of the client, and instead of getting in trouble for using too much produce am praised for not letting fruit go to waste. However much cream or fresh blackberries or mint or basil I need to consume to make absolutely perfect cocktails, they support me and cheer me on. It’s great. I never have to reach for mixer unless it’s what the client wants. I feel the bartenders really have the opportunity to polish their craft to the highest level behind this particular bar, and it’s unlike almost anywhere else I have worked for this reason.

Q: What specialty drink is Blasé Café & Martini Bar noted for?

Obviously martinis, classic, new school, sweet, savory, you name it. We’ll make you any sort of martini you want. I feel we currently make one of the best martinis in town.
Q: When is the best time for locals and visitors to enjoy your company at Blasé Café & Martini Bar?

Friday night is our busiest night, and the very popular local act “The Whole Band” plays. Sunday nights when Matt Frost and the Bird Tribe play, particularly when they play inside, transform the whole joint into some weird fusion of 1920’s Berlin with 1970’s Siesta Key. It’s great. I feel it is the best place to come on the Key for cocktails after the sunset.

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