Angela Clary was raised near Lake Powell, Arizona. She loves anything that has to do with water and adventure.
Her passion for life has always landed her a seat at the center of social gatherings. Her appreciation for good food and drinks has often had friends and family requesting more of her creative cocktails. She loves using fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables in her creations. She also enjoys spirit forward classics such as the Negroni, Sazerac, and a Manhattan.
Angela shakes up cocktails at the Secreto Lounge, a hotel bar inside the historic Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is known for its craft cocktails. She’s also a brand ambassador for Organic Mixology Liqueurs or, as they call themselves, OMbassadors.
When did that Eureka moment happen when you realized your mission is to be a bartender?It has always been a passion of mine to shake up cocktails for friends at parties, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 when I was staying with a friend in California that I really knew. We were shaking up cocktails and I was genuinely enjoying it. I knew I was moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico and decided that I wanted to work at a craft cocktail bar.
I love the social interaction.
I did my homework and found Secreto and knew instantly I wanted to work there. The bar manager was hesitant to hire me without previous experience behind the bar. One evening, he unexpectedly called me (after his barback walked out) and asked me if I still wanted a job. I said “YES!” I was at the bar within 20 minutes and the rest is history.
Which cocktail is the biggest pain in the ass to make, pardon our French?I love shaking up all cocktails so much, I don’t think any are a pain in the ass to make. While some bartenders say a Ramos Fizz or a whiskey sour with an egg white, I get excited and curious to know who it is that wants such a fabulous cocktail!
And which cocktail is served in your version of heaven?All of them… because that would be heaven!
Which drink or cocktail would you say is way underrated? (And a tricky follow-up: Which one is the most overrated?)I would say a G&T is underrated. It’s easy to conflate “simple” with “easy” and the G&T is no exception. If you’re going to use a premium gin, you have to insist on using a premium tonic. Try Q – it’s heavy on the bubbles and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. Use fresh ice and, for a fun spin, add an ounce of OM Meyer Lemon and Ginger Liqueur – we call it a ‘highball highlighter’. Yes, that is tricky… let me think about it!
You come home, slide into something comfortable, and throw yourself on the couch. What's in your glass?It’s either going to be Bourbon or Whiskey with a large rock, a splash of OM’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Liqueur, and a dash of chocolate bitters or a glass of Wine.
What are the five essential ingredients every booze lover should have in their home bar?OM’s collection of (4 products with 2 flavor notes in each) amazing liqueurs (that counts as 1, correct?) Bourbon, Whiskey, Gin, Tequila, Campari, Aperol, Lillet, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Chartreuse & Carpano Antica, Angostura & Peychaud’s bitters. Shall I keep going?
Which booze is the most versatile?I would definitely say Gin.
What are your passions outside the world of Spirits?Spending time with my family and doing anything outdoors. Hiking, biking, kayaking, or just lounging by a body of water, which can include a pool, river, lake, or the ocean, but mostly my soul's paradise, Lake Powell.
What would you be doing if you weren't a bartender?Anything that involves people. I love the social interaction. My previous work experience includes working at a preschool, managing a boat rental dock at Lake Powell, and working for the National Park Service at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California.
Tell us what's your favorite tool of the trade and why.My favorite tool(s) are the Rosle Vertical Canelle Knife and the Steel Wide Crosswise Swivel Peeler, perfect for twists!
Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself?On my next adventure.
I did my homework and found Secreto and knew instantly I wanted to work there.
A Genie tells you to pick someone to fix a drink for; dead or alive, real or fictional. Who would it be?My mother, although she did not partake in any Spirit tasting, ever. I created a cocktail in her honor: The Ensaladas de Madres. Blended pineapple juice with fresh parsley, light Rum, OM Coconut & Lychee Liqueur, ginger Liqueur, fresh lime juice, cinnamon simple syrup, and thai spiced bitters shaken and poured over crushed ice in a tall glass.
Growing up she made us kids a “Green Drink”, it was made with either apple or pineapple juice and leafy greens from the greenhouse. It could be parsley, spinach, chard, kale, anything green, but my favorite combination was pineapple juice and parsley.
I’d love to have a conversation with her again, sitting across the bar from me. I’d shake up a “Ensalada de Madre”, a dry/no alcohol for her of course!
Like what you’ve read? Keep up with Angela on Instagram, and while your scrolling check out Hotel St. Francis and OMLiqueurs.