Photo credit: Nadine Medina

Nadine Medina: Bringing the Aloha Spirit to Las Vegas

Nadine Medina has been a member of our chapter since 2014 and has definitely made an impact. Originally from Hawaii, her last city of residence was Seattle, where she worked as a chef for the Supersonics, Seahawks and the Mariners. In search of a new adventure, she made the move to Vegas and also made the jump from back of the house to behind the bar. If you are lucky enough to spend time with Nadine, you will be enamored by her nurturing style of hospitality and culinary approach to bartending. This week we sat down and talked about flowers, Las Vegas and her love of the craft.

You have been a member of the Guild for over five years. What are one of your favorite parts about the USBG? 

I get excited when other people are interested in learning our craft and the more I know it’s fun to educate what others don’t know, even if it’s just the simplest things. 

The USBG has given me a lot of education, love and support. I especially like the camaraderie, respect and the bonds that are developed as all of us are talented in different ways.

Bartending has seen a lot of transformation in the last 20 years. We now utilize a lot of style, techniques and mindfulness that had been somewhat lost after Prohibition. What is your approach to our noble profession? 

My approach to bartending is normally to keep an open mind. A little conversation about the alcohol they chose is good, but I normally feel out people before giving them a lesson; not everyone cares about every aspect of what we do. It is about the experience, not just about the drink.

Who do you consider a mentor?

I always looked up to my dad; he was always my hero. Very smart and knowledgeable. He is so supportive and gave me the drive for doing your best at whatever you do.

This city and profession are abound with opportunities (thankfully); I know that you worked for major casinos like The Venetian, MGM and Stations. Tell me about your current employer?

I am proud to work with Craft LV, a cocktail catering company for any special events, VIP whiskey tastings and various other requests. Although this is not your basic bartending company, we accommodate many different needs with professional crafted cocktails composed by yours truly and owner, CEO Jehrome Thigpen. I work with Jehrome as his Lead Mixologist.

What’s next for you in your career? 

My next step is advancing further into the advanced education of mixology and beyond.

I will be applying for Cap 2020, mostly for the networking and the opening of other doors. Who knows, maybe a little teaching of this world and consulting.

Where do you most like to catch a beverage? 

I love to drink where people can create or have a great selection of whiskeys, bourbons and Scotch. I don’t think I have a favorite drink to make... well, yea I do, ones that taste good!

Give us some random Nadine facts?

I love beautiful structures... I wanted to be an architect in high school. I also love flowers so much, I wish I could own a flower shop. I’m a kid at heart, but I also enjoy places to find zen. Three of the most peaceful places for me to think: beach, cemetery and my walk-in closet!

There are definitely more reasons to love our city than to hate it; can you tell me why are you here in Las Vegas and what are its benefits? 

Vegas gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my family and still make good money, if not more. Working for a union property, I was able to get more certified education at company’s expense, open my own business and change my career that led me to a great bar community known as the USBG.

As you know, our chapter’s motto is “Hospitality First.” How do you apply that to your work behind the bar? 

For me it is 2nd nature. My background originated in Hawaii and in our culture, it is very normal to be welcoming and treat people like family. So with that said, I cater to needs but it’s more considered in my eyes as treating them like family and everyone gets treated the same. You gotta love what you do, cause the fake smile is not appealing. Everyday life is an adventure and never know what a good drink, good hospitality and a smile can do for either you or another! We were raised with the ‘Aloha Spirit.’