Food & Wine: Best New Mixologist Caitlin Laman
Best New Mixologist Caitlin Laman Photo courtesy of cindyloughridgephotography.com

Caitlin Laman

Best New Mixologist

Where She Won
Trick Dog; San Francisco

First Bartending Experience
My very first experience was when I was 10, bartending with my sister at my aunt’s Boxing Day party. My sister would quickly move to the other side of the bar to chat with people and I would stay behind the bar and make drinks. I loved it! My first paid bartending job was at the Foggy Goggle [in Boston], which is a sports/dive bar on Boylston Street, near Fenway Park.

Best Advice for Home Bartenders
Play around with recipes. There are a lot of books out there with a lot of great recipes, and as bartenders, it’s our job to know those and then expand on them or be inspired by them and come up with different drinks. As a home bartender, you learn just as much from drinks that taste horrible as you do from drinks that taste great. You don’t have to drink every drink that you make, and it’s OK if you make a bad drink just to mess around with the ingredients together. It’s part of the fun. There’s a lot of science to it, but there’s also a lot of mystery to it. Experiencing that is part of the deal.

Five Things Every Home Bar Needs
Rye whiskey, gin, a liqueur like Gran Classico or Campari, dry vermouth and sweet vermouth.

Favorite San Francisco Dive Bar
The Connecticut Yankee. It’s a split Red Sox and San Francisco Giants bar. Because I went to school in Boston, I’m a Red Sox fan. They have a lot of baseball memorabilia, and it’s a great place to watch a game. The food is decent, they have a good beer selection and the bartenders are crass. I like it a lot.

Go-To Drink to Make with Limited Supplies
A gimlet, collins or French 75. Those are based on the same ingredients: lemon or lime juice, gin and sugar. From there, you can add soda water and make it a collins, or you can not add soda water and it’s a gimlet, or you can add sparkling wine and it’s a French 75. If you put a little too much lemon juice, you can just add more sugar. They’re really hard to mess up.

Best Cocktail Name
The Tcobe. It’s not cool at all—it’s actually kind of dorky—but it means a lot to me. Tcobe is the native word for the redwood tree in areas like Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais, which are in Marin, north of San Francisco. I made a cocktail that was the exact same color as a redwood tree. I was hiking the next day in Muir Woods, and I saw a sign about the tcobe, so I chose that name.

Recipes by Caitlin Laman

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