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
Currently, I live in a balcony apartment on
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, which were 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. My summers were spent 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. This was also when I 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 parlour 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 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 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 that 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.
I instantly became fascinated with social
amusements such as bar tricks, jokes, magic,
toasts, trivia, games, history, etc. I quickly learned that 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 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 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 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.
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, 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 as well as 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've 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 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, Steven Lemley won New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the Year." One year later, I was the winner for New Orleans Magazine's "Mixologist of the 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 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 wanted Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds to patron the bar. I became #2, he sent word that
he would visit but then COVID-19 happened.
My 2020 plan was to take off on an adventure I
call "Charming Ever After" but COVID-19
happened. 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 would be solar panels, smart devices, and
Wi-Fi. I also had a milestone birthday this year.
In May of 2021, I moved to a Bourbon Street balcony apartment and I'm back managing the Bourbon O Bar at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.
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