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Mixologist of the Year
Cocktails and Bar Tales
How does one become a Keeper of the Flame, a Creator of the Flame and a Thrower of the Flame? You will have to ask Miss Charming.
There are lives that start out in one direction and then go off in a completely different one. New Orleans is full of those stories, but likely none in a more contra-directional than Cheryl Charming (which is her given name) whose parents moved her as a young girl from Los Angeles to Little Rock, Arkansas to save her from the evils of demon rum and wild boys.
Ironically enough, the first bottle of alcohol she ever saw was when a preacher’s daughter, during a church trip, asked her for a favor: hide a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka from preacher Daddy and Mom. Charming’s mother discovered the bottle and there was a lot of explaining to do.
Charming, while working as a waitress in a pizza restaurant, was quite taken with the role of bartender and kept notes of her customers’ stories, along with tricks and trivia. Those notes filed away in shoe boxes became the basis for her first book, Miss Charming’s Book of Bar Amusements, published by Random House. Thirteen books have followed, including the Everything series: The Bartender’s Book (now in its third printing), Family Guide to Walt Disney World Resort and the Cocktail Parties and Drinks Book: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Colorful Concoctions, Fabulous Finger Foods and the Perfect Setting.
After enjoying a gig on a Disney Cruise Ship, Charming joined the training team at Orlando’s Walt Disney World and taught a new employee training course, Quest for the Best, mostly directed at guest-contact personnel at the resorts’ Pleasure Island area.
It stood to reason that such a personality, eventually, would inevitably end up in New Orleans’ French Quarter. It was a logical outcome to the story, so far. Charming found residence in the Quarter, revamped the bar program at The Bombay Club, and now is the Manager of Bourbon O, the very hip and haunted watering hole in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.
Her preparations of New Orleans’ classic cocktails are exceeded only by her creativity to tie together the location and the history of that property. Try the Touchdown Jesus Bloody Mary.
Every month she writes, edits, art directs and publishes a newsletter that explains to Bourbon O bar patrons the current offerings of drinks, the new creations, the history of the drinks and stories about the location, all dotted with bits of trivia and fun diversions.
She is the consummate hostess, a master storyteller, a tour guide of both drinks and location and a terrific mixologist. Nice combination.
Bourbon O Bar, 730 Bourbon St., 571-4685, BourbonO.com