Revae Schneider is Femme Du Coupe. She recently exploded on to the Chicago scene and her momentum doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. She takes a different tack to the mixology movement by bringing it home. Her goal is to teach classes and educate those with the desire on how to make great drinks at home without going out for the night.
Revae comes off shy at first but once she feels comfortable doesn’t hold back. She’s very open and honest with her answers and eager to share her knowledge. I discovered there was a lot more to her then just cocktails. We met over coffee and she answered my 20 questions!
Name Revae Schneider
From Indianapolis, IN
University For like a semester – los of field research for mixology
Left or Right Handed Right Handed but weirdly my left side is stronger
Twitter Handle @femmeducoupe
1. What did you have for dinner last night?
My mom came in to town and we had leftovers – hummus and tabouli with pita chips. We had a crazy day at Dose and just wanted to relax.
2. Place you drink at most often?
RS: There isn’t on specific place I go but I go to Pippin’s (on Rush) most often. I drink beer most often when I go out.
CFS: Do you prefer a specific beer?
RS: I like Ambers but not too bitter.
CFS: Is Pippin’s still dirty?
3. If you were given $5,000, how would you spend it?
I’d spend it on more marketing material.
4. First word that comes to mind when I say foodie?
What’s his name…the guy from Sprout? Dale Levitski – he said Foodie is the new F-word. I think of that but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If a person enjoys food and calls themselves that, I’m ok with it there’s no negative to it for me. I think its relative everyone has a different view of what a foodie is.
5. Favorite Charity Event that you work with?
I like the Cystic Fibrosis Event.
6. Last weekend on earth – what city are you drinking in?
RS: (immediately) Paris
CFS: Partly for the food as well?
RS: Kinda…I love the romance of it. You can tell from my apartment it’s all vintage chic and what is so cool about Paris. It has a dirty romance to it. When I was a teenager, we went and I thought it was going to be clean and pristine but it wasn’t.
7. If you weren’t a mixologist, what would you do for a living?
RS: That’s hard. I was a personal shopper and stylist prior to this. I genuinely love what I do and never expected doing anything else.
CFS: So you wouldn’t go back to personal shopping?
RS: (funny look) NO
8. Most exotic vacation destination that you’ve been to?
Brazil – I went to 7 different cities.
9. Most embarrassing moment around mixology?
I don’t know I get really nervous in front of my peers. I get really quiet and standoffish. I get more nervous in front of them and embarrassed. I’m sure I said something stupid around them. I’m fairly shy. At my first class, I’m sure I said UM 50 to 100 times.
10. Favorite Spirit to work with?
CFS: Any specific Gin
RS: I like Oxley a lot. Do you know about Oxley?
RS: It’s a cold distilled Gin and has a vacuum seal and has cocoa in it.
CFS: Can you buy it retail? Does it have a chocolate taste to it.
RS: Not exactly, there’s a lot of botanicals but it’s a nice subtle taste.
11. What are you most excited about right now?
Seeing that cocktails are making their way in to the home. They’ve become more accessible to do at home.
12. Do you have any pet peeves?
Hmm (pauses) um, that sometimes we need to realize that at the end of the day we’re just getting people drunk. Most people don’t realize the average consumer doesn’t understand what we do. They’re not as surrounded about it as we are.
So you’re annoyed with your own colleagues?
Not with them but its more we’re surrounded by it that we forget. As a whole we don’t realize that people just don’t know. We should take that extra time even when we’re slammed what it is.
13. Karaoke song?
RS: I’ve never done Karaoke. I’m doing ti for my birthday.
CFS: Any you plan on singing?
RS: People are annoyed with Adele so maybe Kelly Clarkson.
CFS: Do you have a good voice?
RS: Yes, I used to sing growing up.
CFS: So you’re not singing like everyone in their car thinking they can sing.
RS: I grew up and how I went to Brazil. I got to sing at Carnegie Hall and traveled a few places singing. I’m very shy so it takes me time.
CFS: So you teach classes and get on stage to sing but you’re shy…
RS: (pauses) Yaaa it just takes me a little time to get comfortable.
CFS: Are you comfortable now?
CFS: Do you want me to make you uncomfortable?
RS: (laughs) no because then I won’t say anything!
14. Difference between a bartender and mixologist?
RS: Everybody serves drinks it’s the thought behind the drink that makes the difference. I don’t think there’s a difference.
CFS: So it won’t bother you if you’re called a bartender?
CFS: Do you think it bothers your peers?
RS: I think some are more annoyed at being called a mixologist now. For whatever, reason mixologist is frowned upon. A mixologist has more knowledge and can create a drink on the spot.
15. Why so few female mixologists?
I don’t know. I think it has to do with for the most part or that its old fashioned but a lot of women behind the bar don’t make it a career. For guys, this is their choice. There are people who choose to serve or tend bar for their life. There are just as many creative women then men.
16. What’s the biggest issue facing mixologists professionally and for amateurs?
RS: Every restaurant now wants a mixologist but doesn’t understand what goes in to that. There’s a process you need to commit to beyond a press piece. You have to put in the work with fresh juices.
CFS: for amateurs?
RS: They don’t realize the difference in fresh citrus. It’s a pain but it will make a difference. Lemon and lime juice goes bad in 4 hours. So the pre-made crap in the store isn’t good. You have to take the time or hire someone to do that for you when you’re having a party for 100 people.
17. What one thing do most home bars need that they don’t have?
RS: (pauses) They don’t have…hmmm…they should fresh citrus and showing people how to stir. Everyone wants to try Mad men cocktails and they want to shake them not stir. It’s not one specific thing I’ve seen.
CFS: It’s funny James Bond is so smooth and suave and does a lot correct but ruins a gin martini by shaking it.
RS: It is a great line.
18. Is there a neighborhood in Chicago that has great drinking?
RS: I think every neighborhood has a good culture. Bucktown has a bunch - Bangers and Lace, The Anthem and then you go over and you have Big Star and Violet Hour. Then near the loop you have Sable. It’s nice to see you can get a well-crafted drink in any part of the city if you know where to go.
CFS: So there’s no bad spot?
RS: Maybe Streeterville, but I’m really excited to see what Paul McGee does. I talked to him recently and he’s excited to teach people what’s going on.
19. You were in fashion and styling…how does that correlate to mixology?
RS: How I make it similar, when you have your favorite beverage in your hand you feel confident. It’s the same if you’re in your favorite outfit. You have that same confidence. It’s more of a lifestyle thing. Your favorite drink should be like your favorite outfit.
CFS: That’s a great analogy. If you order what you love you can stand there and not worry about the moment. Whereas if you order something new, you’re more preoccupied with that and not who you’re with or where you are.
RS: Exactly you should have staples in your bar and seasonal drinks you can go to.
20. Having lived in Miami…how are the drinks and scene different here in Chicago?
Oh my gosh (laughs) Miami, let me tell you it’s like Vegas except there are no casino’s there’s just a beach. The dresses are short and the cocktails are overpriced. I think the only place I ever enjoyed a cocktail was the Florida room. But cocktails weren’t a big part of my life then. And nobody drank beer there, drinking is more calorie concious and all about the look.
21. Since you’re single are there drinks a guy can order that kills the vibe?
(Laughs) Probably a Long Island. – there’s more to that answer but I promised I wouldn’t tell.
Revae thank you for taking the time to meet and provide great answers!
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Joe is a Chicago based food blogger and his blog is called the Chicago Food Snob. Joe also contributes to Eater Chicago. You can find him on twitter at @chifoodsnob.