What Chefs Drink in the Kitchen

Justin Miller of Pizzeria Ortica, Costa Mesa, CA

Editor's Note: Bartenders may handle booze all day (and night) but we know quite a few chefs who can drink 'em under the table. Today we're launching a new series, featuring chefs from around the country. We'll ask them about their favorite spirits, the bars they frequent, and more. Got drinking-related questions for these talented folks? Add them to the comments section below!

When you're on your feet in a hot, crowded kitchen, it's important to keep hydrated. But of course, you also want to stay alert...and relaxed. Sometimes the way to a chef's heart is the gift of a sixpack of ice-cold cheap beer, but that's not all chefs drink in the kitchen. We asked 19 chefs what they drink to stay cool while at work. Here's what they had to say.

"I've got a routine of coffee, water and gin & sodas. Coffee to get wired before service, water during service to stay hydrated and a gin & soda to decompress once the evening has finally ended."—Harold Dieterle (Perilla, Kin Shop, The Marrow)

"Cold Coke on lots of ice. I drink it because it's refreshing and it's the best beverage in the world."—Vinny Dotolo (Animal)

"Kroger's brand lemon lime sparkling water. Quenches the thirst and no sugar."—Gabe Rucker (Le Pigeon)

Justin Miller of Pizzeria Ortica, Costa Mesa, CA.

"Iced tea by the gallon. I used to drink espresso but I realized that it made me angry."—Justin Miller (Pizzeria Ortica)

"Kind of like a water sangria, quarts of ice water with whatever fruits we have in walk-in, lemon, limes, oranges, berries, lemongrass."—Sean Temple (Paulée)

"Usually soda water or bitters and soda. Either Angostura or Campari. I love the bitter herbaceous flavor and the soda is refreshing."—Justin Devillier (La Petite Grocery)

"Our kitchen is stupid hot because of the wok range, so I drink a lot of liquids. I'm totally spoiled—we serve an iced peach and ginger green tea that's the perfect fix for me when I am at work. It's refreshing and has the perfect touch of caffeine to keep me dialed in."—Braden Wages (Malai Kitchen)

Peter Coenen of The Gage, Chicago.

"Obviously in a hot kitchen and sweating a lot, you need to be drinking water. In the winter I will drink a quart of orange juice through out the day, I am a firm believer that in doing so I will not get sick (probably not fully true, but at least it's not soda). When I was line cooking in Arizona I would drink a lot of Coke. Me and my colleague would always ask the servers to fill up a tall deli (1qt) of coke for us since it was refreshing. We would drink about 3 or 4 quarts a day not even thinking about it. One day it dawned on us that we were consuming a gallon of Coke a day. Surprisingly we did not have a heart attack in the kitchen."—Peter Coenen (The Gage)

"I keep it simple in the kitchen: either ice water with a squeeze of citrus or some mate-peppermint tea, because it's refreshing and caffeinated—a win-win."—Gabrielle Quinonez Denton(Ox)

"Water, we're constantly running around in the kitchen, and it's important to stay hydrated so I don't get worn out."—Michael Psilakis (Kefi, FishTag, MP Taverna)

"Nothing but lots of ice water until the rush is over. Boring, I know. But you have to stay hydrated. Then as soon as the rush is over, I go for a light American pale ale."—Greg Baker (The Refinery)

Bill Kim of bellyQ in Chicago.

"Passion fruit vinegar soda. It's refreshing and cleanses my palate."—Bill Kim (bellyQ)

"I drink water in the kitchen while I am working of course, but as soon as we are done, High Life or Ranier, or PBR. All I want is a cold refreshing beer!!"—Benjamin Bettinger (Imperial)

"Mostly Pellegrino. I love the bubbles, they're so refreshing."—Brian Zenner (Belly & Trumpet)

"Lots of water with a few espressos along the way. I also like to drink sparkling water with cranberry juice and sparkling water with freshly grated ginger and lemons."—Michael Armstrong (Dream Downtown)

Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe in St. Louis.

"Water, Redbull, and Tang—cold and refreshing!"—Kevin Nashan (Sidney Street Cafe)

"Iced tea. It is refreshing with out being overpowering. It has a kick of caffeine but not to much. I get a little jittery from coffee. However, I can still use a little boost towards the end of the shift and iced tea is always just right."—Hank Costello (Andina)

"Sparkling water with lemon; it stimulates the palate and keeps me from over stuffing my face while 'tasting food.'"—Marc Marrone (LAVO Italian Restaurant, TAO Asian Bistro)

"I usually drink water with cucumber or lemon (no ice). It's very refreshing, and I need to stay hydrated."—Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster)