.Kate Gerwin of Front and Cooper Talks About Her Vision

You can walk to your local dive bar and chug down a screwdriver, or you could go over to Front and Cooper in Abbott Square and experience a cocktail. The creative director of Front and Cooper, Kate Gerwin, is 20-year bartending vet and the 2014 Bols Bartending World Champion—the first woman to hold the title. She was also a consultant on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. We asked Gerwin to pour us a tall glass of understanding this unique addition to Abbott Square.

What kind of cocktails are you focusing on?

KATE GERWIN: I don’t have a style or theme, just fun and accessible. Everything is made fresh daily. What you see now will be completely 100-percent different from what you see in three to four months. Nothing crosses over. Our theme right now is [the film] The Lost Boys. We have a Root Beer Ramos or a Ramos Gin Fizz, a classic cocktail that we twisted up using root beer syrup, and Oreo Fat Washed Negroni. A negroni is a classic cocktail dating back to the early 1900s. In the movie, Grandpa has a shelf in the fridge that is off-limits to the kids, and it holds root beer and Oreos. Santa Cruz [in the film, “Santa Carla”] was referred to as the “murder capital of the world” in the movie, so we created the “Cereal Murder Capital,” a cocktail that is a clarified milk punch with Don Q Anejo Rum infused with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, pineapple, lemon, lemon, coriander, and milk, then clarified clear. Everything ties in to the movie. There’s a cemetery in Santa Cruz—I’m thinking about doing a menu that is somehow based on the cemetery and the lives of people in Santa Cruz. But to be honest, in two weeks, I could come up with something else and change my mind.

What’s the current trend in cocktails?

It goes in cycles. In 2010, people got into fancy cocktails and pre-prohibition cocktails. In 2012, everyone wanted to do molecular, really cool fancy drinks that didn’t taste very good that were a bit pretentious. I think in 2016-2017, now people are re-inventing drinks like the Lemon Drop and the Cosmopolitan and making them actually genuinely good.  Things tend to go full circle. For me, I’m trying to make the best drinks possible and not worrying about being the new thing. Just really give people a good time. As long as it’s fun and exciting and it’s something people are going to have a good time with, they’re going to enjoy their cocktails, that’s all I care about. I don’t need anyone to be blown away. So many people are trying to convince people how to drink. I don’t need to tell you how to drink. If you like Lemon Drops, I don’t care. That’s awesome. I will make you the best damn Lemon Drop you’ve ever had in your life. And I won’t judge you for it either.

725 Front St., frontandcooper.com.


  1. Re: Cereal Murder Capital cocktail

    I think it is with poor taste and lack of empathy to create a drink to make light of the “murder capital of the world” moniker at an emotionally frightening and devastating time for many including me during December of 1972 until January 1973 .insensitive. The movie did not make up that line, it was a headline long before there was the movie “Lost Boys”.

    My new and first friend in Santa Cruz was Cindy Schall went missing and was later found killed by Edmund Kemper. Seriously not worthy of any sort of reference to a boozy beverage!


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