Booze

Behind the Bar with Caleb Whitmore of Fogo de Chao

Caleb Whitmore worked at the Fogo de Chao Churrascaria in Chicago, then moved to Denver this summer to open the Fogo here, bringing his caipirinha-making skills with him.

And what's a caipirinha?

"It's Brazil's most popular cocktail," explains Whitmore, "made from cachaca, sugar and fresh limes, shaken and served over ice."

Now serving: Caleb Whitmore.

What's your favorite alcohol? Love the Scotch! Preferably single malts -- the more peaty, the better!

What's your drink of choice? Grappa. I love that it's a "green spirit" using the remnants from the wine-making process, but it tastes like the bastard child of kerosene and Popov vodka.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen while working behind the bar? The Chicago location had some eccentric characters, to say the least. I had the pleasure of viewing the inside of an artificial leg being cleaned with beverage napkins.

How many times do you have to see someone at your bar to consider them a regular? I've been spoiled with some great guests in these past years. I think four or more visits constitutes a "regular."

Do you have any rules when you're tending bar? Keep it professional.

How do you feel about cutting people off? At the risk of sounding cheesy, I think it's a bartender's responsibility to monitor the state of his or her guests. As a bartender, you have the right to deny service to anyone, whether they are drunk, angry, high or you just don't like them....Take advantage of your power.

What's the most memorable pickup line you've heard? You look like a 2008 A.C. Slater.

What's the best tip you've ever received, either monetary or insight? I worked at the Melting Pot through college. When the owner's father came in to dine, he had a strict rule of tipping 100 percent of the bill. It was a slow Friday night, he arrived with five other guests, they were sat in my section, and the bill was $770. I walked away that night with almost $850.

Co-workers aside, who's the best bartender in Denver? Natasha Gottier at Trios Enoteca.

Your own place aside, what's the best bar? The Hornet and Enoteca.

What do you do in your spare time? Cruise my fixie, walk the mutt, drink wine, and when the snow falls -- ride it.

Tell us one thing about tending bar that we might not know: It's more fun than your job.

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Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine