Michelle Mullex said she kind of got thrown into the world of bartending six years ago but, she added, she is glad she did.
"Actually, I was cocktailing, and they put me on the power bar on a holiday weekend, and I really liked it," she said of her job at Harry T’s Lighthouse. "When you are cocktailing, you are really a waitress, but when you are bartending, you are behind the bar – in your own space. I love the power bar, too, because it is very fast-paced."
Mullex explained the power bar is offered when the restaurant is hosting a live band or event, and it allows customers to order a drink as soon as they arrive and near the performance stage.
After years behind the bar, Mullex said she has now ventured into bar managing and caters more to private parties than the late night scene, but, she said, all of it was worth it.
"I started out bartending regularly and really enjoyed just talking with people," she said. "You build a rapport with people, especially with your repeat customers."
Her favorite aspect of the job is in fact those lasting relationships with her customers.
"I currently host a cigar night, and I’ve been hosting the same guys for five years now," she said. "I know what they like to drink and when you get customers like that who come in to see you, it’s flattering. It’s probably the most positive job I’ve ever had."
When it comes to her signature sip, Mullex chose one she helped create — the Purple Dragon.
"They were looking for a spring break drink, something fruity," she said. "I thought, ‘Girls like fruity and the color purple, and who doesn’t like dragons?’"
The drink is fruity indeed, mimicking the flavor of a grape soda. Ingredients include vodka, curacao, peach schnapps, lemonade, cranberry juice and a splash of grenadine.
However, Mullex said her own personal drink of choice is not quite as fruity as the cocktail.
"I’ve actually gotten into wine now," she said. "I’m starting to learn more about wine, and I really appreciate a good glass of pinot grigio or cabernet."
Harry T's Lighthouse is located within the HarborWalk Village at 46 Harbor Blvd. Destin. For more information, visit www.harryts.com or call 850-654-4800.