Best New Mixologist
Where She Won
Williams & Graham; Denver, CO
Where was your first real bartending job?
My first bartending job was at a little Hawaiian-style cafe in Hilo, Hawaii. It was laid back, closed early and I was lucky to be able to work with a lot of fresh tropical fruits, and I definitely used coconut and a blender a lot!
What’s your favorite bar in the world (besides your own) and why?
I fell in love with a bar in Budapest that opened the summer that I moved there, in 2004, called Szimpla Kert. It's still around and doing quite well these days. I love their old historical building and the aesthetics. I’ve been to a lot of great bars, but that sticks out as a favorite of mine.
What is a drink everyone should learn how to make?
An old-fashioned. I feel that it’s such a quintessential cocktail of historical importance that we should all learn about it, and hence from it.
What is your favorite food and cocktail pairing?
I am a sherry nut. I would say that I like pairing sherry-based cocktails with food, especially manzanilla-based cocktails with Asian cuisine.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure drink?
True to my Hawaii roots, I love a tropical blended drink with fresh fruit and coconut. I love freshness. And although I don't have much of a sweet tooth, I've got a soft spot for a good Brandy Alexander on the right occasion as well.