San Antonio Chapter; 7 years in the industry
Where did you grow-up, and what was it like there?
I grew up in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was your typical childhood upbringing; fishing, school, summer jobs, and heart-break (from losing a fish not the girls.)
Favorite childhood memory?
I graduated high school a bit early, so before I went off to college I went to India for awhile and spent all of my time eating the most incredible food and drinking the most incredible drinks I've ever had. Then I got an infection and had to go to the emergency room at a hospital in Pune. My entire wait was about 10 minutes and my total bill was $12.72! I remember thinking that I loved India based solely off of how cheap and efficient the health care was.
Where do you work and what do you do there
I am the Bar Manager for Rose-Haus Inc. in Abilene, TX. We own a restaurant and bar in downtown based around the neighborhood living room concept. We were fortunate enough to open up to a market that had never really had craft cocktails or farm-to-table food offered to them and were greeted with wide open arms by the community. I was preceded by Drew Garison now at Parliament in Dallas, TX and encouraged to join the USBG almost a year ago through him and those guys...hi guys!! Thanks for being awesome.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
I enjoy being able to give a new and refreshing tastes to our customers and expanding the palette of West Texas through good food and drinks. It's so incredible for me to see more spirits professionals popping up all over West Texas and starting their own bars. I've enjoyed getting to be a part of many of those projects and now getting to compete with them as contemporaries in our profession has been the one of the greatest joys in my life (looking at you, Proof in Odessa, Texas.)
What is your favorite bartending moment?
During one of my first larger consultations I got to bartend a "preview" night next to three of my most favorite bartenders in my region. It was a night of debauchery and reverie that really proved to me that I could "stand with the big dogs" and contribute to the conception of an idea in a worthwhile way. It was definitely a confidence booster and a step in solidifying my career.
What do you do to relax outside of work?
I love to read. I'm a sucker for a great cocktail book. Lately though, I've been reading a lot of menus and closely scrutinizing what aspects work for each one favorably as far as physical space, durability, and visual aesthetics are concerned. Also, I dabble quite frequently on Reddit.
Tell us about your dream vacation
My family has deep roots in Ireland. Our history goes back to the founding of the city of Dublin. I've never had the opportunity to go there as of yet. So for me, having a nice relaxing day at the pub in Dublin would be absolutely perfect.
"It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate tireless minority, keen on setting brushes fires of freedom in the minds of men." ~Samuel Adams
Alternatively: "When love is all you need to live then, love is all you have to give away." - Timothy Palmer
Advice you could offer to others:
The best advice I could pass down to anyone is: 'Don't try to fast forward at top speed on your DVR, you will always go right through the commercials and half way through your intended T.V. episode.'
Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to a lot of the modern day 'heroes' of our industry of course (DeGroff, Zaric, Ross, Heugel.) I also find myself looking up to some weird influences outside of the industry. Graphic Designers such as Jeff Rogers at least in regards to how he puts his style on a piece and you recognize it as his but so much different than that. Melissa Humphrey (@aresidentchef) in regards to how she has found a passion for sharing her culinary talent with people all over the world because she believes everyone has the right to experience great food. These ideas have influenced me to put my twist on my cocktails and give people an experience full of flavor, both aesthetically and in taste.
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
I grew up in a family that refurbishes pianos for a living. We have the only Steinway and Sons endorsed refurbishing shop in Texas. I grew up refinishing and restoring pianos (which came in handy when we built our bar top.) Chances are, if you had a Steinway refurbished in Texas within the last 12 years, I probably played chopsticks on it before you.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, my near-future will find me here in Abilene still. After my time here is done, I hope to move on to other endeavors within the industry. Maybe a new startup somewhere that is uninfluenced with the culture of the craft. I'm not really sure but I know that I'll still be doing what I'm doing until I can't any longer.
(Original release date: November 4, 2015)