America’s first taverns were known as “ordinaries,” and by the 1640s, colonists all across Virginia publicly gathered for their daily dose of spirits (considered one of the safest beverages while drinking water was contaminated). We’ve come a long way since then – to countless, inventive restaurants with a lively scene that begins at the bar. 

We sat down with Karen Negvesky, owner and bar manager at Sincero – one of the hottest new restaurants in Richmond, for a conversation about the path to owning and operating a bar, what local spirits you might find at the restaurant and tips to mastering the art of the cocktail. 

How did you make your way onto the bartending scene?

I started working in restaurants when I dropped out of college, hoping to get a foot in the door of the hospitality industry. Since 2015, I’ve now worked every front-of-house position, dabbled in kitchen work for some time, and even found myself working on a farm that supplied most of the produce to those restaurants. The bar has always been where I find myself most excited to create things and play with flavors. 

What local bottles can you find at Sincero?

I don’t have a wide selection of local spirits on our bar at the moment, as we find most of our drinks are based with tequila, mezcal or rum. But we always have a few selections from Virago on the back bar. Definitely one of my favorite local distilleries!

bar at Sincero

For amateur mixologists or home bar enthusiasts, what are the makings of a good cocktail?

My favorite thing about making drinks at home is that there aren’t any rules! I think a “good” cocktail is what you personally find delicious. BUT, starting with a cocktail recipe you like and swapping the main spirit or another ingredient is a great way to play with flavors. When in doubt, you can also always follow 2 (spirit) : 1 (sweet) : 1 (sour) – you’ll always get something good. 

How do you keep up with the latest mixology trends?

Social media always lets me know what’s popular, but I definitely pick and choose which trends to partake in especially when it comes to building the menu and pairing with food.

If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why? Bonus points for the recipe!

I’d totally be a banana daiquiri! I’m a summer gal through and through. One of my favorite things is sitting in the sunshine in mid-July with a book and a cold cocktail. A daiquiri always hits that perfect sweet, bitter, fruity mark for me. And throw in a little Jamaican rum to make it a little more funky and fun!

  • 1.5 oz Virago white rum
  • 0.5 oz Plantation Xaymaca
  • 0.75 oz Giffard banane de bresil 
  • 1.0 oz lime juice

 

Drop by Sincero to see Karen and get a delicious cocktail! And while you’re there, ask for Virginia-made.