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Monday, December 28, 2015

Brea Frederick: Vixen of Vermouth

by Blair Loup

I bet you didn’t know your friendly neighborhood bartender is a licensed cosmetologist in three states, has tended bar in five states, and was a short-order cook at a Waffle House when she was 18 years old.

Brea Frederick of Olive or Twist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Brea Frederick of Olive or Twist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Bartender Brea Frederick at Olive or Twist was born and raised in San Diego, California, and moved to Baton Rouge during four of the most formative years of her life.

Looking for a change in a few different places, Brea's travels carried her to Phoenix, the Twin Cities and New York. Most of the time she worked two jobs, and she always had one foot behind the bar or in the kitchen.

From constant unwanted advances to being corrected on classic drink recipes, Brea has some less than pleasant experiences as a bartender in New York, and some of those struggles are still very real for her in Baton Rouge.

“Being a woman in this industry is challenging, but being a lesbian in this industry makes things even more difficult,” Brea said.

She said there’s something about the sense of entitlement found primarily in the older white privileged males that reminds her of the disrespect many Middle Eastern men she encountered in New York have for women.

After living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan for four years, Brea made her way down to New Orleans. Trying to wedge her way into the industry in the Crescent City, she landed a position at SoBou where she met fellow Woman in Booze Abigail Gullo before her move to Compère Lapin.

Shortly after working at SoBou, Brea found her life pulling her back to Baton Rouge.

“Baton Rouge has always been a big slice of home to me,” Brea said.

The friends she made here are like family, and now so are her coworkers.

As one of five bartenders (and the only female bartender) at Olive or Twist, she says her coworkers are incredible. There's a lot of mutual respect happening among the staff behind and outside of the bar.

Olive or Twist is Brea's first craft cocktail job, and she admits to being overwhelmed and intimidated at first by the enormous collection of booze at Olive or Twist. Who wouldn’t be? With a towering wall of alcohol, some of which can only be reached by a sliding Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style ladder, Olive or Twist boasts an extensive and seasonal cocktail menu.

Brea’s favorite part of working in a craft cocktail bar is surprising her customers’ palates with flavors and ingredients they’ve never experienced. She likes to shoot from the hip with a little cocktail roulette when she’s behind the bar playing with vermouths and aperitifs.

You can snag one of her more recent concoctions, The Formidable Frisk, at the bar, or make it at home with this recipe:

1.5 oz. Old Overholt Rye
.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
.5 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Vanilla Syrup
.5 oz Turbinado
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Muddled Rosemary
*serve in a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of rosemary*

Brea says a good cocktail changes people, so if you’re in the mood for great conversation or life-changing sip, visit Brea Frederick at Olive or Twist.

Cheers to you lady!



This post is part of a monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:

Natalie Parbhoo: Duchess of Distribution
Lindsay Nations: Baroness of Beer
Dori Murvin: Sorceress of Service
Nora McGunnigle: Headmistress of Hops
Myrna Arroyo: Vino Valedictorian
Brandi Lauck: Warden of Whiskey
Cari Caramonta: Mother of Malts
Erin White: Priestess of Pairing
Beth Donner: Dame of Distilling
Halston McMullan: Hustler of Houston Hops
Libby Landry: Governess of Grapes
Abigail Gullo: Leading Lady of Libation