Food & Wine: Best New Mixologist Tyler Stevens
Best New Mixologist Tyler Stevens Photo © David Nethers

Tyler Stevens

Best New Mixologist

Where He Won
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge; Portland, OR

First Bartending Experience
My earliest bartending experience was at Teardrop, actually. I was a barista up the street doing really nerdy barista competitions, and I asked Daniel Shoemaker, the owner of Teardrop, to help me make a signature drink. That sparked a relationship. Daniel taught me everything that I know.

Guilty Pleasure Drink
Anything that’s huge and ridiculous with coconut and palm trees—like in Las Vegas, when they give you those huge piña coladas, like big slushies—and I’m sold.

What to Make with Limited Ingredients
The first thing I look for at a friend’s house is Campari: You can just throw that on the rocks and call it a day. But I also really like making margaritas, just lime juice, tequila and agave. Keep it simple.

Claim to Fame
At the end of the night, the other bartenders and I always sing the Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt song “Don’t Know Much.” It’s our last call song, when we’re taking off the ties, starting to cut loose. Over the course of the past year we’ve started to really perfect the duet, and now people from all the other bars in Portland know that that song plays at the end of the night at Teardrop.

Best Joke
What’s funny is that I’m actually notorious for messing up jokes, and that ends up being my joke in itself. I can never get it right, the one-liner at the end. I always somehow end up giving it away in the joke itself. So whenever a joke comes up I’m always a little bit bashful and usually just end up laughing at myself.

Items Every Home Bar Needs
A bottle of nice tequila, a bottle of rosé and a fridge full of beer, and you’ve covered your bases. I don’t even have jiggers at home; jiggers are great in a bar, but if I’m making a drink for a buddy, I just feel it.

Best Cocktail Name
The best cocktail name that I ever came up with was the Quiet Company, which is Amer Picon, St-Germain and grapefruit juice. I’d never been to New York and I’d always been dying to go, and I went on a trip there to make this cocktail for an event. I went by myself with a lot people I didn’t know, though, and I was a little bit intimidated, so I decided to name this drink Quiet Company. It’s also a line from a song by my favorite band, The National.

Recipes by Tyler Stevens

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