Rachel Withey remembers her first summer in the food industry. That became the summer that ultimately led her to become a bartender and to choose the service industry for her career.

“My first serving job, it was a summer job, it was graveyard shift and I was bringing home insane amounts of money every night,” she said. “I was 16, and I ended up buying my own car, fixing my car, then I bought another car, it was just nuts.”

Today, Withey works behind the bar at Tailfins Alehouse Oyster Bar in Destin and says the transition from serving to bartending was seamless, although drastically different.

“It’s easy, fast money. You have to work hard but it’s worth it,” she said. “It’s different with the people aspect. You get to talk to people, you get to listen to people, you see the same people every day. It’s just a different atmosphere, a little bit more laid back.”

When it comes to her drink of choice, Withey has two vices, it just depends on her mood.

“If I were to go to a bar, I’d probably order either a coffee stout beer or a whiskey,” she said. “It depends on the day. If it was a bad day it’s a shot of whiskey, if it was just a, ‘I want to just have a beer on the way home,’ it’s a beer.”

As for the favorite drink of the bar, Withey said it’s so popular she decided to feature it as her signature sip.

“I’ve never made more bloody marys than I have until I worked here,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s the brunch on the weekends or the consistent hangovers that happen when people are on vacation, people just like their bloody marys.”

Withey added the Tailfins Bloody Mary is made with a secret mix, and is often ordered to-go, as the Destin Harbor is a festive marketplace district.

“We have our own special mix. It’s not too spicy, not too bland. We can make it hotter if you want it,” she said. “We do put Old Bay Seasoning on the rim, so that’s a little different. Ours also comes in a fancy cup; you can get a souvenir cup that’s the Destin feel.”

As for her free time, Withey said she leaves one job for another one when she heads home.

“I have a full-time job at home, I mean, I have four kids at home,” she said laughing. “That’s a job in itself. There’s three teenage girls and one little boy. He’s 7. I feel like at work is more relaxed then my home life. They are great kids and I love them … but I come to work to get my down time, it’s funny.”

Tailfins Alehouse Oyster Bar is at 172 Harbor Blvd. in Destin. For more information visit www.tailfinsdestin.com or call 850-650-1200.