Ricky Arnett, a Frankfort native, has tended bars and worked in them since he was a young man. He claims to make the best martini in town, and his regulars will stand by him on that.
How did you get your start in bartending? "When I was younger, my mother was catering for a really nice restaurant here in Lexington. I worked barback on the weekends, and I've been doing it ever since."
Do you remember your regulars? "I remember the drink before the name."
Is there a drink you hate to make? "Nope! I'm here to be a bartender. That's what I am; you want it, I'll make it."
If you could drink only one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would it be? "Vodka martini."
Why the vodka martini? "Because I make the best one in town." (Laughs.)
Red or white wine? "White. I like a cold glass of wine and a cold cocktail."
Shake or stir? "I stir my dark liquors and shake my light liquors."
What's your favorite type of bar? "Now, I like a quieter, more 'loungey' type bar. Thirty years ago, The Bistro on Euclid Avenue was the place to be. Dudley's is the Bistro of today."
What makes a good bartender? "Personality. You have to be able to talk to your customers."
You've been bartending in Lexington for a quite some time. What sets you apart from other bartenders? "You can go to just about any bar in town and order a 'Café Ricky.' I used to make it when I worked at The Bistro. It's Grand Marnier, Bailey's and coffee. Other bars would call and ask, 'Hey, what's in that drink these people had down there last night?' They even have it on the menu at Keeneland now."
What is the "ultimate cocktail" of Lexington? "Bourbon. Pappy Van Winkle's, 20-year-old."
When do you work? Every Tuesday and Friday "for sure."
Colin Walsh, Herald-Leader Staff Writer