Food & Wine: Best New Mixologist Liz Pearce
Best New Mixologist Liz Pearce © Jason Little

Liz Pearce

Best New Mixologist

Where She Won
The Drifter; Chicago, IL

What was your first real bartending job? 
I worked at a dive bar in Fargo, North Dakota (the town I grew up in), and I stayed for six years. I loved it; it was gritty, volume bartending. Beers and shots, and the strongest whiskey Cokes you've ever seen. It was a great stepping stone, and I learned a lot about "real" bartending there. How to be fast, how to engage the guest, all that, but it was definitely not what you'd call a "craft cocktail" bar.

Besides your own, what is your favorite bar in the world and why? 
Oh, that's hard. I love so many spots. EO and the Nomad in New York City, Broken Shaker in Miami. I'd say my favorite cocktail bar would have to be 69 Colebrooke Row in London. The cocktails were so incredibly well-balanced, and they looked so simple, but when you found out what went into that drink, you almost felt bad about gulping it down. Here in Chicago, my favorite bars are probably Sportsman's Club and Sable. Both have the friendliest staff and are so comfortable to just relax in.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure drink? 
Resort-style frozen piña coladas. So sweet, so gross, so deliciously naughty. But only have one or you'll be sorry.

What are some things every home bartender should know
1.    Bitters are your friend. 
2.    Buy the best scotch you can afford, and keep it for yourself. 
3.    Don't buy simple syrup. 

Bartending trick to impress your friends? 
My bartending friends? You can't impress them—they already know everything! Normal people? If you hold a strainer correctly, you can fill two glasses at once. Normal people love that stuff.

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