MissCharming.com is my collection of all things cocktail since 1980. If you would like to use any of it media please give credit ~
all things cocktail since 1998
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'm chasing the 70-degree weather in a camper van, creating cocktail coloring books.
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 firstborn of four, and my mother says I
was a creative thinker, organized, and resourceful.
While growing up, my parents built three houses, always located "in the country." It was
a different time; we never locked our doors, had
four TV channels, and a 20-foot spiral cord on our
avocado-colored rotary dial phone. Oh, and the
car keys lived in the ignition.
My parents kept me out of teenage trouble by introducing me to softball. I spent my summers playing shortstop or third base.
My first job was pumping gas at their gas stations.
I learned to check engine fluids, change oil, and
fix a flat tire. I also caught the travel bug
via long family and youth church trips around
the USA with 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 parlor waitress one town over in
Benton. My hospitality industry career began.
After high school, I progressed to serving at
John Barleycorn's Vision in Little Rock. I wish I
could locate photos of this restaurant because it
was my favorite adult restaurant, and I was so happy
to be 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 the cocktail waitress had 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). 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 to tell me how proud she was of me with all my
published books. That was very sweet. I can only remember three male bartenders I worked with to the right: Forest, Bobby, and Daviel. The
Cabaret had a copper bar top that had to be polished every night, tin ceiling, Bentwood chairs, and glassware were the whole line of Libbey's Chivalry. Since then, I have tended bars 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.
I instantly became fascinated with social
amusements such as bar tricks, jokes, magic,
toasts, trivia, games, history, etc. I quickly learned I could entertain with bar tricks, and my tips greatly increased. I scribbled everything I learned from patrons on cocktail napkins, which I kept in
shoe boxes. With a penchant for travel, I
accepted a job as a bartender on a Caribbean
In 1989, I heard Walt Disney World was opening an island of bars called Pleasure Island. The first bar
I worked at the Adventurers Club. After a
few years, I transferred to The Grand Floridian
Beach Resort beach bar. Disney soon asked me
to teach bar and magic tricks in their mandatory
F&B program called Quest for the Best.
It was around this time that 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 headfirst 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 without a search engine, so I taught myself HTML code and then 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.
In the first decade of the millennium, I studied
drink trivia app, Miss Trivia (defunct), with 10,000 questions and created fun cocktail jewelry (ice cube and cocktail glass 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 when a marriage of the kitchen and bar focused on fresh ingredients to craft
gourmet cocktails. Slowly, I 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've watched many products introduced behind the bar for 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 accepted 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 won
New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the Year."
I won for New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the Year" the following year. We were the first and only bar to win twice.
I created the first fresh ingredient craft bar on Bourbon Street, introduced a six-minute shaken Ramos Gin Fizz machine, stored bitters bottles on
the ceiling with magnets, and the first classy Bourbon Street souvenir go-cup (large gold Champagne bottle). My next project was to be the #1 bar globally to sell the most Aviation American Gin because I wanted Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds to patron the bar. I became #2; he said
he would visit, but then COVID-19 happened.
In April 2020, I planned to take off on an
adventure I call "Charming Ever After," but
COVID-19 happened in March 2020.
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 or van.
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 would be solar panels, smart devices,
In May of 2021, I moved to a Bourbon Street
balcony apartment and went back to managing the
Bourbon O Bar at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.
On October 25, 2022, I finally began my "Charming Ever After" by chasing the 70-degree North American weather in a Roadtrek camper van.
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