The Operator Cocktail Recipe by Providence’s Zahra Bates

— by Caroline on Crack

Providence's Zahra Bates by Caroline on Crack

Providence’s Zahra Bates and her Operator cocktail.

Bartender Zahra Bates’ days at Providence are ticking down. After five years of working at the two-Michelin-star restaurant, where she was trained by Vincenzo Marianella, 2012 Spirited Awards American Bartender of the Year nominee, and where she’s made a name for herself thanks to her innovative culinary cocktails, Zahra is leaving. She wanted to free up her time to pursue other interests, cocktail-related of course. In the meantime she will be pulling shifts at Cole’s downtown as well as Bar & Kitchen to work on her classic cocktail skills.

If you haven’t had a drink by Zahra at Providence yet, you better get on that. Her last day is next week. Best day to visit is Monday when it’s free corkage night at the restaurant and, as she said in my LA Magazine Digest spotlight on her, she gets a little lonely at the bar. Ask for her new cocktail, The Operator. It’s based off Vincenzo’s Smooth Operator cocktail. “I always liked to have something that referenced Vincenzo on the Providence menu,” said Zahra.

If you miss your chance to visit Zahra, you can always try and cheer yourself up by making her cocktail at home.

Visual Step-By-Step for The Operator Cocktail Recipe

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The Operator
By Zahra Bates, Providence


  • foam (250ml sage-infused pineapple juice with 3g of gelatin)
  • 3/4 oz seedless green grape juice
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 5ml pisco honey liqueur (or plain honey liqueur will do)
  • 1 3/4 oz Atlantico Platino
  1. Spritz the glass with Pernod absinthe.

  2. Squirt a dollop of pineapple sage foam into the glass.

  3. In a tin add seedless green grape juice (“You want to use pressed seedless green grape juice instead of a muscato because what you really want is that tannic, vegetal quality that the skin has.”), small dash of lime juice, a smaller dash of housemade pisco honey liqueur (“That’s a 1:1 ratio”), and Atlantico Platino. By the way, Zahra uses Atlantico Platino “because of the 70:30 agricole ratio to what would normally be molasses rum because remember the skins from the grape and then the Pernod and then the foam, they all tie into the agricole.”

  4. Add ice, do a hard shake and then let it sit for a minute “so all the liquids can drain from the top and ice my strainer and my Hawthorn [strainer]. You go through all that trouble to get the drink cold and then pour it through warm strainers kinda defeats the purpose.”

  5. Fine strain mixture into the glass while aiming at the top center of the foam dollop.

  6. Either use a straw to fill the hole in the foam or squirt a dollop of foam over the hole.