MissCharming.com is my collection of all things cocktail since 1980. If you would like to use any of it media please give credit ~
When not performing on Broadway, lingerie modeling, or turning down marriage proposals from handsome billionaires, I attend support group meetings for compulsive liars. In the meantime, I live in the French Quarter, a stone's throw from Bourbon Street.
I was born in 1960 in Azusa, California and lived in West Covina overlooking the San Gabriel
Mountains. At age five, my parents moved to my father's hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas (my mother's hometown was Spokane, Washington).
I was the first born of four and my mother says I
was a creative thinker, organized, and resourceful.
While growing up, my parents built three houses, which were always located "in the country." It was
a different time; we never locked our doors, had
four TV channels, a 20-foot spiral cord on our
avocado colored rotary dial phone, and the car
keys lived in the ignition.
My parents kept me out of teenage trouble by introducing me to softball. My summers were spent playing shortstop and third base and my first job was pumping gas at my their gas station. This was where I learned to check engine fluids, change oil, and fix a flat tire. This was also when I caught the travel bug via long family and youth church trips around America and peeks of Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica.
At age 16, my first car was a silver 1973 Chevy Camaro with red leather bucket seats and four-on-
the-floor. It was a cool car for a sixteen-year-old.
With wheels, I was able to take an after-school job
as a pizza parlour waitress one town over in Benton, and so my hospitality industry career began.
After high school, I progressed to a nice restaurant server at John Barleycorn's Vision in Little Rock, Arkansas. I wish I could locate photos of this restaurant because it was my favorite adult restaurant and was so happy to get hired. It reminded me of my favorite childhood restaurant Casa Bonita. Like Casa Bonita, Barleycorn's had many themed private and semi-private dining rooms such as a Hollywood room, Arabian room, World War II room, and more. The salad bar was built around a life-size Ford Model T and the most popular sandwich on the menu was a Monte Cristo. One day, my manager told me that the cocktail waitress called in sick and I had to go upstairs to work her shift. This was the moment my foot stepped into the cocktail world. The only thing I have from these days is one matchbook.
Next, I worked as a cocktail waitress at a popular
bar called Cabaret (2601 Kavanaugh Blvd) where
the owner, Lynda Johnson progressed me to bar back, service bartender, bartender, and then head bartender within a year. Around 25 years later, she surprised me with a phone call wanting to let me know how proud she was of me with all my
published books. That was very sweet. I can only remember three of the male bartenders I worked with to the right; Forest, Bobby, and Daviel. The
Cabaret had a copper bar top had to be polished every night, tin ceiling, Bentwood chairs, and the glassware was the whole line of Libbey's Chivalry. Since then, I have tended bar in nine American states, a Caribbean cruise ship, Walt Disney World, and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
While tending bar one day at Cabaret a patron named Daddy Jack showed me a bar trick with the cherry I placed in his Manhattan (later I learned he was part of the Whitewater controversy) and I instantly became fascinated with social amusements such as bar tricks, jokes, magic, toasts, trivia, recipes, games, history, etc. I quickly learned that I could
keep people entertained with bar tricks and my tips greatly increased. I scribbled everything I learned from patrons on cocktail napkins, which I kept in shoeboxes. With a penchant for travel, I accepted
a job as a bartender on a Caribbean cruise ship.
In 1989, I heard Walt Disney World was opening an island of bars called Pleasure Island . The first bar
I worked at was called Adventurers Club . After a
few years, I transferred to The Grand Floridian
Beach Resort beach bar. Disney soon asked me
to be an instructor teaching bar and magic tricks in their mandatory F&B program called Quest for the Best.It was around this time I began researching
how to get a book published.
After three years and 350 rejection letters, my first book Miss Charming's Book of Bar Amusements
was accepted by Random House.
In 1998, I dove head first into an exciting new world called the World Wide Web via WebTV. I quickly realized there were but a handful of cocktail-related websites available and no real search engine, so I taught myself HTML code and set out to provide a one-stop bar & cocktail resource site. The site you are looking at now is the fourth design revamp of MissCharming.com. You can see past designs at the bottom of the page here.
My time in the first decade of the millennium was spent studying Graphic Design at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida and connecting to a whole new world of cocktail friends via the Internet. Tales of the Cocktail and The Museum of the American Cocktail was born, I developed the first
drink trivia app (defunct), created fun cocktail
jewelry (ice cube rings were the most popular), designed bartender business cards and resumes,
and published nine more books.
This time was also during the second golden era of the cocktail with a marriage of the kitchen and bar with a focus on fresh ingredients to craft gourmet cocktails, so I slowly witnessed new fresh ingredients appear behind the bar. For perspective, keep in
mind, that I first began tending bar with only two vodkas (Smirnoff & Absolut). I have watched many
products introduced behind the bar more years
than I care to count. I experienced all the spirit and cocktail changes/additions from 1980 to 2020.
In 2010, I moved to New Orleans from Indian Rocks Beach, Florida and took a bar manager/bartender position at The Bombay Club . I revamped their outdated Martini menu (it had 160 Martinis), by
cutting 100 Martinis then created a Martini
timeline starting from 1862.
In 2013, I became the bar director for the Bourbon Orleans Hotel's Bourbon O Jazz Bar. The same
year, one of my bartenders was named New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the Year" and in 2015,
I was the reigning New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the Year."
I created the first fresh bar on Bourbon Street, introduced a six-minute shaken Ramos Gin Fizz machine, stored bitters bottles on the ceiling with magnets, and introduced the first classy Bourbon Street souvenir go-cup (large gold Champagne bottle). My next project was to be the #1 bar in the world to sell the most Aviation American Gin because I want Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds to patron the bar. I became #2, but then COVID-19 happened.
My plans for 2020 was to take off on an adventure I
called Charming Ever After. I planned to check off my Wanderlist (Wanderlust + Bucket List = Wanderlist) and make North America my backyard by living and traveling in a small RV.
I full-time RV'd before in the 1990s, but the highest technology at the time was a pager and a payphone, lol. The technology this time around will be solar panels, smart devices, and Wi-Fi. What are my plans now? I'm not sure, but who does these days. I guess only time will tell.
Cheryl Charming Social Media
Charming Ever After Social Media