Bartender of the Issue – Danielle Cowart

Swizzle Stick Lounge, Okaloosa Island


Danielle, originally from Mobile, has been making customers happy at this popular drinking spot since she moved here in 2003.


“I like the atmosphere and I like the people,” she says as she tops off my Crown Royal and Coca-Cola. “And Chris Hayes would shoot me if I left!” Hayes, nominated this year for the Beachcomber Music Awards Hall of Fame, has been playing and singing here as long as Danielle’s been pouring.


The clientele at the Stick favors locals more than hotel guests (for anyone that just got back from a long trip to Mars, the bar is located in the Best Western hotel). Danielle says lots of Snowbirds come back to see her every winter.


And enjoy drinks like chocolate martinis and the Swizzle Stick exclusive, the Monkey’s Milk martini. “It has vanilla vodka, Malibu rum, Bailey’s, banana…,” says Danielle. The bartender favors Maker’s Mark Manhattans when it’s time for her to indulge.


Her hobbies include making decorative lamps from discarded wine bottles. “I was trying to make a girlfriend an original housewarming project,” she says. “I drilled holes in a bottle and ran lights through it. This is my third year doing this. I’ve probably made a hundred of them.”


Danielle offers good advice for anyone willing to brave the other side of the bar. “The biggest thing, you have to have personality and be in control of the situation. If you’re really busy and it shows in your face, you’re going to go down!”

Chris Manson
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