Sara Justice

Best New Mixologist

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Where She Won
Holeman & Finch; Atlanta

First Bartending Experience
When I moved to Atlanta, basically right out of high school, I got a job at Leon’s in Decatur, which has become pretty well known for its cocktails. I waited tables for a little while and then started learning to bartend there.

What to Make with a Limited Bar
I love variations on Manhattans and martinis. You really need only three things: a good bottle of whiskey, some vermouth, or even a good fortified wine like sherry or Madeira, and bitters. I also really love Campari and soda when I’m in a pinch. It’s very dependable. It’s what I drink when I’m at the airport.

Favorite After-Work Hangout
Octopus Bar, which is inside a little noodle house called So Ba in Atlanta, is awesome. Their kitchen is open really late and they always have good cocktails, wine, cider and beer.

Dive Bar Drink of Choice
My favorite go-to is Old Grand-Dad bonded bourbon. That’s not always around, but it’s what my eyes look for, if I can find it.

Favorite Bar
My favorite bar anywhere is Alder in New York City. When you look at their cocktail list, it looks unassuming. Then you order a drink and it arrives in a little metal can with huge amounts of shaved ice and crazy straws. The drinks are very playful and so delicious. You can tell that a ton of thought went into them.

Drink Everyone Should Learn How to Make
If you know how to make a whisky sour, that opens the door to a lot of other drinks: a daiquiri, a Bee’s Knees, a Tom Collins, a fizz. If you know and understand the proportions of sugar to spirit to sour, you’ll know how to make a lot of other classic cocktails.

Items Every Home Bar Needs
The essentials for a Manhattan: a mixing glass, a jigger, a good bottle of whiskey, a good bottle of vermouth and some Angostura bitters.

Best Cocktail Name
A Southern summer-focused cocktail called Everybody Hurts, made with charred corn–infused vodka, corn whiskey, mezcal, coconut cream, watermelon, pineapple and barbecue bitters. It makes you feel like you’re outside at a barbecue: you’ve got some spicy barbecue and some watermelon, maybe you put on too much suntan lotion. It’s essentially a strange variation on a Painkiller, and it popped into my head: Everybody Hurts. And of course, REM is from Georgia.