Nicole Cogan may be best known for her saucy photos on Instagram. Well, her food porn, that is. The NOBREAD Founder and CEO is constantly posting drool-worthy #GlutenFree dishes and – you guessed it – drinks, too, on her popular social media account of the same name (@nobread). With 120k followers, the Cornell University graduate – who started her food finds in NYC – has moved to Los Angeles, and expanded her GF reach to San Francisco and D.C. With plans to conquer everything gluten free in Chicago, Boston, and London, there’s no slowing down for the Manhasset, NY, born blogger.
The rules for GF-drinking might eliminate some of our favorite cocktails and happy hour staples – but with other tasty options, we were pumped to throw a couple back and drunkenly share potato chips and fries with Nicole.
Drinking With NOBREAD Founder Nicole Cogan
Favorite NYC place to hang out for a drink?
Bowery Hotel! It has the chillest vibe, and there is always a cool crowd. It’s also the best place to go when you’re with a group of friends and want to have an actual conversation.
Favorite LA place to hang out for a drink?
Rose Cafe in Venice or Zinque in Venice/West Hollywood. Rose is probably my go-to. The ambiance is adorable, and the space is huge! You can go to the formal restaurant and have a sit-down dinner or drinks, or go to the cocktail bar and high tables for a more casual vibe.
Is it easier to be Gluten Free in NYC or LA?
Ah, it’s tough to say! It’s more ‘accepted’ here in LA, but restaurants are more open to accommodations in NYC. Drinking-wise, definitely easier in NYC! A lot of places are beer and wine-only in LA, and I don’t drink either!
Go-to drink order?
I’m definitely a vodka soda lime girl, but I’ll never turn down a margarita.
What’s a drink you never order?
Beer, Whisky, Scotch. All of these contain gluten, so they’re a no-go for me.
How difficult is it to drink Gluten Free?
It can be tough – especially here, in LA, where the culture is all about beer and wine. Wine is gluten free. I just don’t drink it. I need my vodka and tequila!
What’s the biggest misconception about Gluten Free drinking?
People think that just because the alcohol is distilled enough, it is gluten-free. It’s not the case! The only way you can guarantee your beverage is gluten-free is if the alcohol is made from naturally gluten-free ingredients.
Which spirits/brands are best for GF drinkers?
Stoli Gluten Free! It’s made from 88% corn and 12% buckwheat, so it tastes so smooth, unlike other Gluten Free vodka brands that are just one ingredient.
What were you doing before starting NOBREAD?
I worked in Equity Sales at J.P. Morgan- total 180! And before then I attended Cornell University.
First time getting drunk?
High School, after a school dance! The drink? Orange juice and vodka. Gross.
What GF cocktail ingredients or techniques are you most excited about right now?
I’m loving making Moscow Mules with Stoli Ginger Beer and Stoli Gluten Free vodka.
Coffee or tea?
Tea. My fun fact is that I’ve never had a coffee… ever!
What’s your hangover remedy?
A lot of water! And taking myself for a walk. Oh, and potato chips.
Do you have a guilty “drink” pleasure?
Margarita. I drink them like water! I stick to classic on ice, no salt.
Best eats when you are drinking or – dare we say – drunk?
French Fries and potato chips are my vices. I will go to a drive through for French fries, or market for chips, just to have my drunk fix.
Where is your favorite spot for a super chill night out or date night recommendation?
In NYC, BondST or Santina are the best date spots. BondST has awesome cocktails and a gluten free menu, and a super sexy vibe. Santina is fun, super gluten-friendly, and has some of my favorite drinks in the city! In LA, SoHo House Malibu is my sanctuary.
Favorite NYC / LA gems that might not be on everyone’s radar?
When I’m in NYC, I’m at the Bowery Hotel way too much. Ideal for a group hang with friends. For date night, I love Goldie’s or Petty Cash in Los Angeles and Santina in NYC. All are super gluten-friendly.
What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
Taking the leap of faith and leaving JP Morgan to pursue NOBREAD full-time. I always tell people the highs you face while working for yourself are greater than any high you’ll have while working for someone else, but the lows are also way lower. You have to be able to handle them all!
Do you have mentors or someone you look up to in the industry?
Totally! My best friends: Otto Cedeno and Adam Gallagher (@iamgalla). Otto left his successful career in production to open Otto’s Tacos, and Galla is a creative genius who inspires me every day.
Straight update & shameless plug time: what are you working on these days? Let’s hear it!
My NOBREAD YouTube channel recently launched!