Best New Mixologist
Where He Won
The Normandie Club; Los Angeles, CA
What was your first real bartending job?
A couple of weeks into the opening of PDT, I was drinking an Astoria Bianco when bartender Don Lee told me that whoever was supposed to barback that night no-showed and I was being put to work. I spent the rest of the night going in and out of the basement and cutting garnishes. At the end of the shift Don asked, "Wanna come back next week?" and that was that!
Besides your own, what is your favorite bar in the world and why?
Excluding the ones I've ever been a part of? Coffee Bar K in Seoul (they have two locations now). It was the first bar that I saw in Korea that was really executing at a high level; plus, I can drink Havana Club while smoking a Cuban, so...
What is your earliest bartending experience?
Backyard parties, blenders, random ingredients found in whoever's kitchen.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure drink?
I don't really consider it a guilty pleasure because I will stand behind it any day, but outside of cocktails, I love makkuli, a traditional Korean rice wine—especially when it's raining!
What are some things every home bartender should know?
1. How to make your mom's favorite drink.
2. How to make or buy good ice.
3. Where to get glassware for cheap.