Best New Mixologist
Where He Won
Cane & Table; New Orleans, LA
Where was your first real bartending job?
My first bartending job was in Bloomington, Indiana. I'd been booking shows at a club called Second Story that was on the upper floor of an old moose lodge, and after a while the club manager asked me if I wanted to host karaoke at the gay bar downstairs, Bullwinkles. I said yes and eventually was trained behind the bar making drinks with names that are inappropriate for polite company.
What’s your favorite bar in the world (besides your own) and why?
There's a bar in Bloomington, Indiana called The Atlas. Over the years, I've known a lot of people there and beyond that, the staff is always very welcoming. They have Skee-Ball and Hoop-Shot, and a very nice room. It's a place that has always felt more like home than even my folks’ house.
What is a drink everyone should learn how to make?
A Sazerac, c'mon! It’s a very simple, improved cocktail—a whiskey cocktail with Peychaud's bitters and then a dash of absinthe to improve it. It’s wonderfully aromatic but also complex in both of those ways.
What’s your favorite dive bar drink?
Warm gin, or whatever the temperature of the room is—anything that is light and herbaceous, then a clean, cold pilsner are all that I’m looking for.
What are some things every home bartender should know?
I would say always have stuff to make a Sazerac on hand‚ because it’s a delicious drink and one that can be made really fast in an emergency situation. Always batch, if you’re having a party—make a punch. Make one of whatever you’re drinking before guests arrive, to make sure you have everything.