Bartender Chat: Emily Hynds of Double Trouble
Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt Emily is a blur of motion behind the bar.
With leather and bamboo patio seating behind imposing yet beckoning rebar gates, Double Trouble is one of the newest residents of the so-called "Main Street Island." Residing one block south of the HCC/Ensemble light-rail stop on Main and billing itself as not only a coffee spot but a full-service bar, Double Trouble is a welcome addition.
Opened in December 2011 by longtime Houston service industry veterans Robin Berwick and Robin Whalan, the bar has a Tiki vibe that fits with the Island's Sig's Lagoon and Continental Club but is unique to Houston's often paint-by-numbers bar scene. We stopped in to talk with bartender Emily Hynds for more details:
I asked Emily to make me a cocktail right off the bat. My only stipulation was that it have booze in it. She brought me Double Trouble's Suffering Bastard.
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz bourbon
- ½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 dashes bitters
- 4 oz ginger beer
- Garnish with lemon wheel
Drink in hand, we got down to business.
How long have you been bartending?
The Suffering Bastard.
This is my first bartending job. So I started when the bar opened around the holidays, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I knew the owners, and I used to work for Starbucks and had quit that job. I also run an independent theater company called Boo Town. So I worked on Boo Town for a couple months in between.
So you have to deal with both the barista aspect and the bartending aspect. Tell us a little about that.
It's definitely a different work flow having to deal with alcohol and coffee at the same time, but I feel like once we got used to that, it was fine. You just incorporate it into your regular workload. Making coffee is no more complicated than making a cocktail. We open at 7 a.m. and don't serve alcohol until 11, so the mornings are all coffee. I work Mondays 1 to 8 p.m., and even with happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m., half of what I ring in my shift is coffee.
When you order at a bar, what are you drinking?
One bartender and one barback get the job done at Double Trouble.
(Laughs) Definitely not a Suffering Bastard, nothing that complicated. I like to drink gin in the summer and whiskey in the winter. So usually a gin and tonic, or maybe I'll order a whiskey press. Something simple.
So your background is in theater. Is that something you're still doing?
Yes. Boo Town is starting its sixth season in July. We do Grown-Up Story Time. The season opener is next Tuesday (July 17) at Rudyard's Pub at 9 p.m.
Give us your best story involving the bar.
Oh, that's a good one. We had two events here back to back, an event from 8 to 11 p.m. and then an after-party. Everyone who showed up to the after-party was really drunk. It was very busy, definitely the busiest I've seen it here. People were having a good time, but it was very busy and this girl decided that I was not giving the best service, so she decided to call me a "Cunt Face." From there I decided I needed to come up with a drink called the "Cunt Face." You know, like maybe a shot of half Jäger and half Fernet. Nothing else.
Emily also makes a mean margarita.
The bar has great music. Is there a set playlist or what?
It's an iPod. Everyone picked songs, and it's all on one single iPod.
Follow up: Pick one song and one song only from the playlist.
Oh, I don't know...(Barback interjects: "Something Dinosaur Jr.") Okay, yeah. Sure...something by Dinosaur Jr.
You can stop in to see Emily at Double Trouble or find her at Adult Story Time every third Tuesday of the month at Rudyard's Pub (see www.bootown.org for more details).
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