We sat down with Steva Casey of The Atomic Lounge in Birmingham to chat about her work, Birmingham’s cocktail scene, traveling, and her drink for July’s Summer Scotch Box, A Worn Path!
S&S: What’s it like to work at The Atomic Lounge? How did your journey lead there?
SC: I’ve worked there now for over a year. The owners have been great friends of mine for a long time and were gracious enough to come let me work on Friday and Saturday.
S&S: What’s your desert-island bottle of Scotch?
SC: My ultimate would be a bottle from the Hazelburn distillery. But if I had to take a bottle from my collection to be the one Scotch that I drank indefinitely, it would be Talisker 10.
S&S: What’s a good argument for Scotch as a surprisingly appropriate warm-weather partner for brighter flavors?
SC: It pairs really well with tart flavors because it can still be tasted against acidic things like lemon juice and coffee. Scotch is also a great foil for sweeter flavors for the same reason.
S&S: We so agree! What’s the story behind the name of your cocktail?
SC: A Worn Path is taken from Eudora Welty. It’s a short story about an elderly African-American woman who undertakes a familiar journey on a road in a rural area.
S&S: Is there any specific food you would recommend pairing with A Worn Path?
SC: I would love to eat some cold picnic fried chicken or a seafood tower.
S&S: Yum! What music do you hope people are listening to as they mix and enjoy it at home?
SC: I hope they’re listening to soul music like Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Durand Jones, Leon Bridges, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding.
S&S: What’s the ideal summer setting you imagine for enjoying A Worn Path?
SC: Afternoon on the porch near a water feature.
S&S: Is there a classic cocktail that you always think twice about tinkering with because it’s so perfect as is?
SC: Perfect Rob Roy.
S&S: What kind of a drinking town is Birmingham?
SC: Birmingham has such a rich culture of food and drink that brings comfort and togetherness. We have some really great cocktail bars that offer southern hospitality first and foremost. And we also have dive bars that stay open late into the night.
S&S: Any recent enlightening drink-centric travels lately?
SC: Recently I took a two-day trip to see the new Death & Co. in Denver. The space is beautiful and the drinks are wonderful.
S&S: We can’t wait to see it too! What are you looking forward to personally or professionally this summer?
SC: I am involved in producing some events around the world, two specifically: Tiki By The Sea, in the US and Italy, and International Cocktail Karaoke, in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Tiki By The Sea is an educational Tikicentric festival geared toward bartenders. International Cocktail Karaoke is an exceptionally fun project sponsored by Patrón, where teams of bar professionals make drinks while simultaneously singing a karaoke song.
S&S: Sounds like a busy summer! What do you do when you’re not working?
SC: I set a goal for myself every year that is not bar related. I would rather set a goal than make a New Year’s resolution. My goal for this year is to see 40 shows, be it concerts, plays, operas, and/or any live musically related performance.
S&S: What’s your go-to drink order when trying out at a new place?
SC: My go-to is usually an old fashioned. It’s such a simple but also delicious drink.