USBG Las Vegas
Co-authored by Brian Bridgeman
David Cooper by Adam Rains
David Cooper is Las Vegas born & bred and “lives & breathes 702.” Not only is he the patriarch of a bartending family dynasty, his career itself is book worthy. From Evel Knievel to Rodney Dangerfield, he’s had thousands of happy patrons come to visit him through the years and is one of only a handful of bartenders in town with 25 year regulars. It’s not just customers that revel in his service. He is a favorite of industry people and has long been recognized as someone to learn from. This culminated last December when he won our chapter’s Tony Abou-Ganim Paragon Award, which was created to celebrate mentorship in our Las Vegas bartending community.
Long before he became a mentor (or even old enough to drive), Cooper made his debut. His dad owned several bars around town and one night this 15-year-old young man was forced to get behind the stick. “Well, I would stock at several different properties. This particular place was called the Pour House on Boulder Highway. The bartender called in sick and my dad just says, ‘Just stay there and bartend.’ Keep in mind, I didn’t know how to ring a register or make a drink, nothing. I was 15 years old, behind the bar in Vegas, with Shaun Cassidy wings, pouring drinks!”
He soon moved to the hottest hotel on the Strip at the time, Caesars Palace in the 1980’s. “It’s the best job I ever had. It wasn’t only about the money (but we’d make thousands a night!), it was an honor to work there. You were prideful; it was about the craft. And at the time, I was the young gun and definitely had to prove myself.”
Most recently he has been performing his highly evolved bar-game at CarneVino Italian Steakhouse in The Palazzo. You can find him there at night, Wednesday thru Saturday. If you are lucky, you can maybe get to sit in “Cooper’s Corner” where the good times never stop. Or you can see him performing one of his other passions, hosting and playing in charity golf tournaments.
While he has seen so many changes in our business, what has stayed the same is his passion for service. “Coop” as many call him, creates an experience for his guest that is irreplaceable. Being a longtime member of the Guild has done nothing but support that passion. “I love it for the brotherhood and camaraderie and to be able to get together with people, young and old, that share the same passion as me.” Cheers Coop!
Noble Spritz: by David Cooper
2 oz Casa Noble Crystal
.5 oz Campari
.5 oz Grapefruit Juice
.25 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Moscato D’Asti
Combine all ingredients (except for Moscato) in a mixing tin with ice. Give a quick shake and combine with Moscato. Then pour over fresh ice with a lime peel for garnish.
Angela Casay By Brian Bridgeman
Family. This is the word that best describes this passionista’s approach to bartending. Please welcome Angela Casay to the bartending stage. Born and raised in Peru, Angela moved to the United States roughly 6 years ago. After a brief 7-month layover in Los Angeles, and having been a dealer on Carnival Cruise Ships, she made her way here to Las Vegas to pursue a career.
Angela cut her teeth in the beverage industry as a cocktail waitress at the Monte Carlo. It was there she met Phil Dow and Nick Kabetso, two people, outside of her father, that she credits for encouraging her to pursue a path behind the bar. She moved into a bar apprentice position and through hard work and determination, was soon promoted to Bartender.
Ms. Casay recently won the “New Kid on the Block” award at USBGLV’s annual holiday party. Angela recalls, “It made me feel so welcomed to the community!” Being recognized for her talent, hard work and passion have inspired and pushed her to become better, not only as bartender, but as a person too. Angela’s approach to hospitality is straightforward and simple: “Make your guest feel like they are home! This makes them feel so good,” she says, “They can’t help but want to come back!”
Aside from being her biggest inspiration, Angela attributes her passion to her father, an artisanal Pisco producer in Peru. Pisco is the potable that pushes her. Angela hopes to one day be the premiere resource reference for Pisco, the ‘Princess of Pisco’ if you will, educating the public and her peers on the joys of this under-represented and often misunderstood spirit. Until she wears that crown, you can find Angela at Boulder Station. Tell her family sent you!
Vampiro Borracho: by Angela Casay
1.5 oz Casa Noble Añejo
.75 oz Ancho Reyes
.20 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Beet Juice
.5 oz Lemon
.5 oz Simple
Smoked Salt Rim
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in a rimmed glass.