Photo by Chris Casella

Cocktail Hour: Rebecca Monday

Round the world and home again. That’s the sailor’s way. Evidently it goes for bartenders, too.

Findlay native Rebecca Monday calls herself a beach girl at heart. As there isn’t a wealth of honest-to-goodness beaches within striking distance of the northwest Ohio town, one wonders where she got such a notion.

The answer, of course, is California. Monday made her way to the best coast to go to school for fashion merchandising, another industry of which Findlay is not necessarily a hotbed. After Los Angeles came New York City, where Monday intended to continue the pursuit of fashion.

While there, she began bartending. A common tale perhaps, but while tending bar, for many, is a fleeting activity and not a career, Monday found the allure in craft mixology, noted the hands-on, creative similarities to fashion, and made it her new passion.

Back in Ohio, Monday has been with the town’s top pre-Prohibition tavern for two years now, honing her skills under local cocktail experts Joe Peppercorn and Travis Owens. Now an eight-year vet and a member of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, she trots about the landscape, local and afar, always on the lookout for a new philosophy on filling glasses.

Her current project is a local spin on Negroni Week, started in San Francisco just last year by Imbibe Magazine. It has since gone international in its quest to proliferate the classic cocktail and do so philanthropically. From June 2-8 in Columbus at participating establishments, one dollar of every Negroni sold will go to The Jack Roth Fund for lung cancer research.

Monday has spent a couple months organizing the Columbus effort, pulling nearly 20 local bars into the fold. It has become her calling, her livelihood. She recalled a recent moment, listening to legendary mixologist Dale DeGroff speak at an event in Cleveland.

“He said that craft bartenders are enjoying a golden age. The high dedication to local, organic ingredients – it’s a proud moment. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Within the past six months, Monday has been very active, taking a leadership role within the USBG, seeking prominence not just as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, but as a bartender in general.

“[Bartenders] used to be very well-respected. They were part of the social elite, almost like doctors. This isn’t just a job – it’s a legitimate career.”

Monday then flashed her chops, pulling together three drinks with a deft hand – two specifically from the Curio menu and, naturally, a classic Negroni.[toggles style=”accordion”][toggle title=”Classic Negroni”](all equal parts) Bulldog gin Campari Antica Formula Carpano sweet vermouth Stir with ice, strain. Garnish with orange peel.[/toggle][toggle title=”Rhuby & Rye”]1 1/2 oz. Bulleit rye 3/4 oz. Zucca amaro 1/2 oz. Aperol 1/4 oz. rhubarb liqueur 1/4 oz. lemon juice Dash of Tavern cocktail vinegar Combine in shaker with ice. Shake. Strain.[/toggle][toggle title=”Restless Native”]1 1/2 oz. Cruzan spiced rum 1 oz. cold-pressed carrot juice 1/2 oz. ginger syrup 1/4 oz. lime juice Celery bitters Blackstrap molasses float Combine in shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into Collins glass. [/toggle][/toggles]