By Melissa Byron
9:15 AM EDT, June 20, 2013
Found at: J. Christian's (Wallingford)
Do you consider yourself a mixologist?
I am a bartender that studies the craft of mixology. I am also the president of the United States Bartenders Guild of Connecticut.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
My parents had an ice cream store when I was a kid, and I loved developing flavor combinations, so that's where it started. I am inspired by Gaz Reagan, who is a predominant cocktail author. Dale Degroff, aka the king of cocktail is my mentor. These are the giants that have come before us. They have taken the craft to the next level and now the cocktail scene is booming. I'm also influenced by our menu and the chefs I work with. Pairing is very important.
What infusions are you making?
I like to work with a spirit in its raw form. I like to try and figure out how to change a classic cocktail and make it better. I ask myself, how do I pull the flavors that are existing? That involves natural sweeteners like fresh citrus, tea infusions, homemade syrups, bitters and agave nectar.
What three bottles can't you part with?
My desert island picks are Bombay Sapphire, Pyrat XO Reserve Rum and Campari. My favorite cocktail is a Negroni.