Welcome to the second installment of Cocktail Week 2013's Meet A Bartender feature, where we get to know just a little bit about the stellar people who mix our drinks, toast to our good news, offer friendly advice, and sometimes dry our tears (with a good stiff drink).
Today Eater is honored to feature a Detroit bartending legend, Mr. Farouk Elhaje of The Rattlesnake Club. Farouk, as he's known by almost everyone, is a fixture in Detroit. He's been with The Rattlesnake Club for nearly 25 years, almost as long as the restaurant itself has been open. He is credited with inventing that delicious boozy frozen Michigan concoction known as the "Hummer" and his bio doesn't stop there. The Rattlesnake Club shares that before he started his current longstanding position "Farouk manned the bar at the original London Chop House for 29 years mixing drinks for the likes of Walter Cronkite, Ed McMahon, Lee Iacocca, even President George H. W. Bush." He worked (and invented said Hummer for) Detroit restaurateur Lester Gruber, and was praised for his Mint Julep by Kentucky's lieutenant governor. His career was profiled in Detroit's Hour Magazine in August, but he's not retiring any time soon. Farouk answered Eater Detroit's three bartender questions this week with razor sharp wit, honesty, and a solid dose of wisdom.
Eater Detroit: What is your favorite undiscovered or underrated bar in Detroit/Metro Detroit and why?
Farouk Elhaje: The Rattlesnake Club, of course! I see the same people over and over – where are all those young people that have moved downtown? Don't they want a good drink and good meal, too? I love my regulars but I want to see more of you young people – I know more about this city than anyone else you'll meet and I'll mix you a great drink – a classic one. And get the steak while you're here, OK?
ED: What is your favorite drink to make at work?
FE: A martini, baby! Simple, fast, and I stuff those olives myself – try the blue cheese!
ED: What is your favorite cocktail to make for yourself?
FE: For me, I'll take a "Polish Manhattan" – that's a shot of good Polish vodka & a beer!
ED: What's your tried and true hangover cure?
FE: Make sure your breakfast includes bananas, potatoes and radishes. Trust me.
· The Rattlesnake Club Detroit [Official Site]
· Set 'em Up, Farouk [Hour Detroit]
· All Rattlesnake Club Coverage [-ED-]
[Photo courtesy of The Rattlesnake Club]