Food & Wine: Alexis Soler and Bri Soler

© Andrea Behrends

Alexis & Britt Soler

Best New Mixologist 2016

Where They Won: Old Glory; Nashville, TN. In a vast 1920s boiler room complete with exposed brick and a towering smokestack, Old Glory offers an inventive drinks menu created by sisters Alexis and Britt Soler. Unconventional cocktails like Pony Show (tequila, gin, honeydew, green pepper and mint) and Horse, Of Course (Fernet-Branca, Campari, ginger and lime) are a nod to Alexis’ infatuation with horses.

What makes a good bartender?

Britt: The idea of hospitality. When that is a valuable word for you, you go about things differently. Knowing that the new person sitting at the bar is as valuable as your friends that are there every single night, that makes a good bartender.

Favorite bar in the world (besides your own)?

Alexis: Booker and Dax in New York City. They blew my mind. If you just sit with the bartender for an hour, you’ll learn so much. It’s a different kind of experience and a different kind of great. Plus, their hospitality and willingness to share.

Britt: The Broken Shaker in Miami transports you. You’re sitting by a pool and the bar is so reminiscent of Old Havana and everything you would want out of a Miami experience. Also, the crew at The Aviary in Chicago is just ridiculous. When someone can change your mind about something you’ve been doing for years and years, that’s just so cool and extremely respectable. At the same time, we vibe with some terrible dive bars. Some of the greatest bars in the world are just dive bars because you’re at home. I don’t think there’s one greatest bar in the world.

Favorite guilty pleasure drink?

Alexis: I often drink a nice bourbon with a coffee chaser, for lack of a better word. I’ll sip it. When I need one, I’ll drink a vodka Diet [Coke].

Britt: We came from a family that had 17 cases of Diet Coke at all times, so we were drinking like three a day. So Alexis and I have the vodka Diet thing in common. I also really love a Chi-Chi, which is basically a piña colada with vodka. That’s my guilty pleasure, have-in-the-middle-of-a-shift drink when I’m feeling sassy.

A drink that everyone should learn how to make:

Britt: The first drink I was trained to make was a Sazerac. I think that helps everyone. Absinthe might seem like a weird ingredient to just have in your house, but knowing about dashes, rinses and the strength of whiskey that you’re using and how all of those things affect your cocktail is an extremely valuable lesson. People will learn that lesson making a Sazerac over and over and over in their own home.

Alexis: Three-ingredient drinks are so important and it’s not like they don’t impress people. Knowing how to balance a drink is valuable. If you like gin and bitter drinks, learn how to make a Negroni. Just figure out what it is you like and learn to make it well.

The next “big thing” in the cocktail world:

Alexis: People are going to get more into vermouth. I had a dinner party the other night and we all had wine and then I asked, “Who wants a Dolin Blanc with soda?” Everybody raised their hand, but they were like, “I don’t know what the hell that is.” When I brought out the Dolin Blancs with soda and a lemon twist, they all said, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” So hopefully people get into drinking vermouth more because it is so interesting and we are getting an influx of really cool ones in America right now.

The Dish
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