Cocktail glasses clink, couples chat, and the aroma of delicious food fills the air as it is prepared. From the outside, the restaurant looks comfortable, but inside, workers are rushing to prepare for the coming night.
Each month, Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar hosts a sponsored pairing dinner based around a certain whiskey distiller. Chef Nick Snyder offers a five-course meal — an appetizer, appetizer, second course, main and dessert — and Amanda Sarate is responsible for coming up with a cocktail that pairs with each course.
Sarate is a full-time student at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and works full-time at Whiskey Cake. Just as she juggles liquor bottles to make specialty cocktails, Sarate also juggles her time as a communications senior and bartender.
Sarate started working at Whiskey Cake in April 2020 and was promoted to Head Bartender in August 2021. She has been a bartender since the age of 21, and just five years later she has already accomplished the bartending technique at two hands where she shakes two glasses at the same time. .
“I love being a woman and being so knowledgeable in something that is considered manly,” Sarate said. “We have a lot of guys who really love whiskey and think they know a lot, but I end up knowing more, impressing them, and that really makes me happy in my role here at Whiskey Cake.”
Whiskey Cake prides itself on sustainability, for example using coasters made from cardboard boxes, the overhead sound system is made from old egg cartons, they drop old wine glasses and the turn into candles for centerpieces, recycle everything and try to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible.
Farm-to-table and garden-to-glass is what Whiskey Cake is all about, using produce from local Texas businesses and farms to even have their own garden out front of the restaurant to grow their fresh basil, their mint and their thyme which they pick fresh every morning.
“Quality ingredients taste even better in the hands of the right people,” says the Whiskey cake website.
Whiskey Cake currently has over 400 different spirits in the bar and Sarate keeps track of each one. She hasn’t used some of them yet, she says.
His go-to source for creating and preparing cocktails is a book called “The Flavor Bible.”
Sarate’s role at the restaurant is to create weekly cocktail parties, help fellow bartenders coach and mentor them, complete inventory every Sunday, and keep the bar tidy and organized.
“My favorite thing about being a bartender is being creative.” Sarate said. “I like to think of a vision in my head and see it come to life in a cocktail. The color, the smell, the glassware, and how people react when they try it and learn that I created it.
Whiskey Cake offers monthly tastings and online courses that keep Sarate busy. She said this upbringing kept her on her toes when it came to the whiskey industry.
“I love the fast pace of working in restaurants and bars, and I love talking and meeting new people every shift,” Sarate said.
Although some customers may have a review, Sarate takes everything into consideration and appreciates input from different people.
Sarate said it’s “satisfying when you execute something that you’ve thought about and everyone loves it,” adding that they call it a “banger,” which Sarate gets quite often.
With a minor in business, Sarate would like to become an event planner and eventually have her own business being an event coordinator for larger scale events like contests, awards shows, etc. Although different from bartending, Sarate enjoys working with people and the rush that comes with cooking something big.
15900 La Cantera Pkwy Suite 21200,
San Antonio, Texas 78256
Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.