Bartender Buddha: Meet Those Shaking Up The Connecticut Cocktail Scene
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Matthew Pierce, Nolita
Nolita's Matthew Pierce learned his craft from one of the area's best - his manager at Grants in West Hartford, John Tsipouras, was named the Mixologist of the Year in 2013 by the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
"He was my mentor and still is," Pierce said, and now the two have joined forces to create Tailored Taste, a cocktail-catering company that handles event planning, menu design and other mixology needs for various clients.
At the increasingly busy East Hartford restaurant bar, Pierce is in his first official bar-management role and says it's still a learning process, but he's quickly learning what works for the venue. This spring, that means winnowing the expansive 20-cocktail list to a select 10 and focusing on the quality of ingredients in each: housemade flavored syrups, fresh juices and top-shelf liquors. The best-selling Coco-Locomotion will stay, however, with coconut-flavored vodka, triple sec, coconut syrup, pineapple, lime and nutmeg.
Glass mason jars filled with fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce are displayed on the bar, and Pierce said these have almost become a conversation piece for guests new to the restaurant.
"When they see you making a drink, they ask what's in the jars. It builds a rapport with the guests, which is a focus at the restaurant," he said. "You're sharing your passion with someone; that's what I try to do with my personality at the bar."
--Leeanne Griffin, email@example.com
See more of Nolita's cocktails at ctnow.com/nolita.
>>E-mail Leeanne Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Suzie Hunter ( email@example.com) with your favorite Connecticut cocktail destination or your favorite bartender, and find more cocktail destinations at ctnow.com/liquorcabinet.