Best New Mixologist
Where He Won
Williams & Graham; Denver
First Bartending Experience
My first official bartending day was at P.F. Chang’s in Denver, the day after I turned 21. I had been working as a bar-back, and the Sunday morning bartender got fired on Friday night. It was fun, but then the bartender who relieved me that evening came in and yelled at me because I had nothing done the way that he wanted it done.
A simple old-fashioned: a little lemon peel, bitters and whiskey. There’s always a bottle of Angostura behind the bar, and you can use almost any spirit and it’ll still be good. An occasional vodka soda is OK, too.
There’s a really great dive bar in Denver that I love a lot called the P S Lounge. Very old-school, owned by a little old man. Every woman who walks in the door gets a red rose, and every hour on the hour, if you bought a drink in that hour, they pour a shot for everybody. It’s not the greatest shot, but it’s cool. The hospitality there is amazing.
Drink Everyone Should Learn How to Make
A basic sour: citrus, sugar, spirit. You can switch things out: use honey for your sweetener, or use a sweeter liqueur. Your acid can be any number of things: lemon, lime or grapefruit juice. The combinations can be almost endless.
Favorite Food and Cocktail Pairing
A French 75 and sushi, or a good steak with a Vieux Carré.
Things Every Home Bartender Should Have
A good juicer, a good set of cocktail tins and a good cocktail book, like The PDT Cocktail Book, The Savoy Cocktail Book or Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology. And a group of friends to entertain! Have a party and have each friend bring a different bottle of booze, and then play. You can’t sit in your kitchen all alone and make 15 drinks and be like, “That one’s good.” By the fifth drink, you’re not going to remember the first drink.