Supporting LGBTQ women in hospitality

Supporting LGBTQ women in hospitality

Today, to close out June & Pride month, we are highlighting two badass LGBTQ women in the hospitality industry--Lacy Hawkins and Ezra Star. We got to interview both of them about some of their favorite memories and recipes in this space and are sharing their responses below! Every month, we are going to highlight diverse voices in our industry. We hope you’ll cheers to that.


Lacy Hawkins 

Lacy is definitely someone to keep on your radar. She is Monkey 47 Gin’s National Brand Ambassador, has won multiple cocktail competitions, and helped The NoMad earn the James Beard Award in the category of Best Bar Team. 

Interview with Lacy:

How did you get started as a bartender?:

I started in the hospitality industry by being a bouncer at a nightclub called The Greek in Portland, OR.  There was a team of about 20 bouncers who would patrol the 4-level nightclub and I was one of only a handful of women who worked there. I would come in early for my shift and help the bartenders cut giant buckets of lemons and limes for the evening. I quickly saw that it was more rewarding to make cocktails for people than have to clean up after them when they've had too many.

Most memorable bartending experience:

I once bartended at night on a remote island about 3-miles away from Puerto Rico during a Kendrick Lamar concert. The ocean and a full moon were to my back and there were wild monkeys and mountains behind the concert stage. Yeah... I'd say that was pretty memorable!

Favorite cocktail to make at home during quarantine (share the recipe!):

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't also obsessed with this cocktail before quarantine, but since I've been staying in Brooklyn and not traveling around the US, I've been imbibing a little bit more and really vibing on this drink. When I make cocktails at home, I prioritize taste, efficiency and cleanup before the sanctitude of bartending. So maybe that means I shake in a mason jar or stir with a chopstick? The results are still delicious no matter what. This drink will change the way you think about martinis and be warned - it tastes exceptional and goes down very easily. The 47 botanicals used in making Monkey 47 Gin create a spirit that is smooth, intricate and appropriate for any cocktail.

Monkey Martini

2 parts Monkey 47 Gin

1 part Blanc Vermouth (Dolin or Carpano are easy to find)

Pour all ingredients over a big ice cube in a frozen rocks glass, stir with a chopstick and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Favorite meal to cook during quarantine: 

During quarantine, I recently decided to go vegan and now I'm not sure if I'll ever go back! So as of late my favorite meal to make has been breakfast and I've been really into steel cut oats with coconut oil and local fresh fruit, spicy, peppery potato hash with a dollop of herbed almond yogurt on top, or a tofu scramble packed with spices I brought home from an Israeli market last year.

Favorite local bar/restaurant for takeout during quarantine: 

I like to support my neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, so I tend to stay local and go to Diamond Reef for cocktails, Hunky Dory for brunch (they have an ever changing food popup on the weekends that is fantastic!) or RAS Ethiopian for an awesome dinner.

Spicy Margarita or Old Fashioned?:

This decision is too hard! I immediately think of the Sonambula at Leyenda when I hear spicy margarita and IMO that is the spicy marg to rule all spicy margs, most especially when they make it with Monkey 47 Gin and spicy tequila for me. But I also love a classic cocktail and a simple rye old fashioned (Smooth Ambler Contradiction being my whiskey of choice here) is something I make often at home when a cold fall and winter start to set in.

Ezra Star 

Ezra is the general manager of Drink in Boston.  Since she started at Drink in 2010, she has helped to guide the bar to many awards including 2013 Spirited Awards World’s Best Bar. Most recently, Star was nominated for several awards including American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. During Covid, DRINK is offering cocktail kits for takeout and has recently opened for modified regular service.

Interview with Ezra:

How did you get started as a bartender?:

The first bar I worked at was a Irish dive bar in a not so good part of Boston about 20 years ago. Initially i worked at the bar because i was new to the city and wqanted to meet people. My more formal cocktail bar experience was years later while working in a bar to pay for school. At a certain point I realized I enjoyed the bar part more than the school part and made the transition.

Most memorable bartending experience:

My most memorable bartending experience was at Drink. I was sitting in the office when one of my staff members came in, she told me someone was trying to move some chairs around to sit together and when the staff told them they couldnt the guy responded that he was the prime minister of Ireland. We did a quick google search to see what he looked like and sure enough it was him. I quickly hopped out onto the floor and started taking care of the Prime minister and his colleagues which were all ministers in his cabinet. We drank Poitine (irish moonshine essentially) and listened to music while singing along. I was a crazy night. at the end of the night the guys all traded ties and the Prime minister gave me a clover pin for my apron.

Favorite cocktail to make at home during quarantine (share the recipe!):

Sazerac is 100% the answer. Every sunday we do something called Sazerac Sunday which is essentially a toast to the end of the week. I kept this tradition going during quarantine and held it digitally for my staff and friends.

1 sugar cube

7 dashes Peychaud's bitters

.25 oz water

muddle all together

add 3 oz of Cognac (some people use rye whiskey)

add ice and stir until cold.

strain into a chilled glass that has been rinsed with Herbsaint. Squeeze lemon peel over the glass and discard the peel. enjoy.

Favorite meal to cook during quarantine: 

I am a bit of a pasta Fanatic. Learned to cook it on a trip across italy. I make only hand rolled. Lately I've been perfecting my agnolotti (last night it was filled with ricotta, corn, and thyme).

Favorite local bar/restaurant for takeout during quarantine: 

Lonestar taco bar in Cambridge.

Spicy Margarita or Old Fashioned?: 

Honestly it just depends on the day. Sitting on my steps with a spicy margarita, listening to Rage Against the Machine while the sun is soaking me in its rays versus, end of the night with Nina Simone windows of my house completely open, slow-dancing with myself. Both of these are dream moments.

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