cocktail king this week, naming New York-based bartender Steve Schneider their 2013 Star of the Bar at the International Wine, Spirits, and Beer event in Chicago on Monday.The National Restaurant Association crowned a new
Schneider and five other finalists mixed their best drinks for some expert judges, including celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain. Schneider's creation, dubbed "The Dean," earned him top honors and a $5,000 prize. For his contest entry, he also served up a video of himself mixing the drink while sporting a (really bad) Howard Dean wig and doing a (pretty good) Howard Dean impression.
"I was watching reruns of Dave Chappelle's show when the text came in about the contest," he told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on Tuesday. Rather than submit a run-of-the-mill video of himself making a single drink, he decided to have a little fun. "That's what bartending is, you know? Having a great time."
The drink's gorgeous, pale pink color is courtesy of a splash of bittersweet Italian Campari, an addition that wowed the judges.
"I had made this cocktail before," Schneider told Yahoo! Shine. "It's kind of a take on a classic gimlet, accentuated with grapefruit and Campari, which are two flavors that go really well together."
Schneider is no stranger to bartending fame. A former Marine who has been mixing drinks for 10 years, Schneider is the principal bartender at Employees Only in New York City and is so dedicated to his work that he has the bar's logo tattooed on his hand. He made Zagat's 30 Under 30 list in 2011, when he was 27 years old, has been profiled in Esquire, and has won FastestBartender.com's annual competition three times.
"I don't remember recipes," he told Esquire in 2011. "I learn drinks. Learn why these drinks taste a certain way, learn what they're supposed to taste like, and people appreciate that."
Here's how you can make his award-winning cocktail at home.
Recipe courtesy of The National Restaurant Association
1/2 oz Campari
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz grapefruit juice
1/4 oz agave nectar
Mint, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, shake and strain in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint crown. Don't forget to have fun. Stay creative.
Though he mixes drinks for a living, when he's not on the clock there's no knowing what he'll have in his glass. "It depends on the time of day, time of year, where you are, who you're with," he told Yahoo! Shine, though he admitted that, if he had to choose, he'd go for a fresh Margarita made with Mezcal right now. "I'm kind of well versed," he added. "I'm bound to drink anything."
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