by Steven Doyle
Now in its eighth year, Bombay Sapphire and GQ Magazine’s “Most Imaginative Bartender” program traveled to over 40 US cities and welcomed more than 3,500 participating bartenders in 2014. With the aim of advancing best-practice bartending, cultivating mixologists’ skills and encouraging their creativity, the “Most Inspired Bartender” program has played a pivotal role in recognizing up-and-coming cocktail cities, as well as strong holds such as New York and Portland.
The local contest which sends the winner on to compete nationally was held this week in Dallas, and the winner of the competition was Bonnie Wilson, the beverage program manager for Frontburner’s Fork It Over Restaurants (The Ranch at Las Colinas, Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake, Velvet Taco). As good fortune would have it, we spoke to Ms. Wilson recently and had a spirited conversation in this Q&A. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
Each week Outpost Dallas has been hosting local celebrity bartenders to run the bar for a few hours on Wednesday’s. The deal is that these celeb types bring in their crowd and donate proceeds to their charity of choice. There have been some entertaining bartenders since they began the program. I was the first to be behind the stick, and it can be un-nerving if you haven’t bartended in some years. This will be the case this Wednesday (tonight) as owners Chris Zielke and Chris Jeffers (the same lads who own Bolsa, Smoke, Chicken Scratch and the rest) get behind the bar after so many years of simply managing their empire. Zielke started at Bennigans and Jeffers started with Uncle Julios.
Yes, Chris and Chris started their careers as bartenders. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
TGI Fridays has crowned Andy Hool of Canton, Mich. the World’s Greatest Bartender at the 23rd annual World Bartender Championship last night at the House of Blues in Dallas. Andy’s mixology, precision and speed, coupled with his personality behind the bar, wowed a panel of industry expert judges and helped him secure the coveted title of World’s Greatest Bartender.
To make it to the final showdown, 12 finalists had to prove they were the best of the best on the local, regional and divisional level by ousting over 8,000 bartenders from over 900 TGI Fridays restaurants in more than 60 countries around the world. In the final competition, each bartender exhibited product, ingredient and recipe expertise through a series of rigorous tests followed by a freestyle performance, where a panel of judges assessed each finalist’s ability to make innovative drinks while displaying both an engaging style of service and flawless mixology techniques. Think Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
Recently we announced that Outpost on Beckley, which was opened by the design dream team John Paul Valverde and Miguel Vicens, was taken over by Compound Restaurant Management, the same folks who own Bolsa and Smoke as well as many other fine dining establishments in Oak Cliff and West Dallas. There has been a heavy push to see that the tiny eatery succeeds, and the menu was quickly revamped by Smoke super star chef Tim Byres. In addition, the new owners have employed local musicians to fill the smallish space, as well as Gong Show style comedic karaoke nights.
The plan has been working, and Outpost has made a positive turn-around. Continue reading
by Tracy Jimenez
Calling all cocktail lovers! On Sunday, December 15th, 45 of DFW’s best bartenders are shaking concoctions for charity in this year’s Cocktails for a Cause. They will take over The Standard Pour in Uptown to raise money for a local charity called Trigger’s Toys, dedicated to donating toys to children in hospitals around the area.
Bryan Townsend, the Founder of Trigger’s Toys, with the help of Whiskey Cake’s Sean Conner and The Standard Pour’s Bryan McCullough, have rallied local bartenders and mixologists to put on the ultimate pop-up bar where teams of five bartenders will come in every hour to craft specialty cocktails for $10 each. 100% of all proceeds will go to Trigger’s Toys and those in need. Participating bartenders include: Kyle Hilla (Bolsa), Ivan Rimach (Mexican Sugar), Alex Fletcher (Victor Tangos), and many more. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
This Monday there will be a special screening of Hey Bartender at the Village Theater at 32 Highland Park Village at 7pm. The film is about a bartender in the era of craft cocktail. After the film meet Jason Kosmas, co-owner of one of the bars featured in the film, Employees Only in New York. Kosmas will speak abut the film and host a Q&A session. You will also hear from the film’s director, Douglas Tirola and William Grant Portfolio Ambassador, Charlotte Voisey. The evening will finish up with an after party next door at the Village Bar.
Here is the film’s IMDB synopsis: Continue reading
by Steven Doyle photos by Mary Szefcyk
One of the more entertaining parts of my work is that I am graciously asked to judge cocktail competitions. Sometimes these are hardcore Bartending Guild contests pitting area bartenders for glorious prizes including trips and cash, other times it can be a specific brand that looking to entertain the public and industry folks who actually sell the spirits. In this time I have witnessed quite a few gimmicks that prove entertaining that had the competitors doing such antics as performing stand up and heaving push ups on the bar in order to curry favorable points. It almost seems the smaller the budget the more outrageous the event becomes, as we witnessed last evening with a particular contest held at Lark on the Park by Monkey Shoulder.
Monkey Shoulder is very new to Texas and has made a huge impact with many of the bartenders in North Texas. The spirit is spectacular, affordable and extremely mixable. Monkey shoulder is a triple vatted blended whiskey brought to you by the same makers of such whiskeys as Balvenie and Glenfiddich, both used in the blend, and aged in bourbon casks for up to 12 years. Continue reading