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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Bess Kretsinger’

Readers’ Choice 2015: Bartender of the Year – Ted Kilgore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015



{From left, Kyle Mathis, Seth Wahlman and Bess Kretsinger with Bartender of the Year Ted Kilgore}

Whether it’s serving up seasonal cocktails, perfecting the classics or putting new twists on old favorites, this year’s top bartenders won you over with their creativity and craftsmanship. Here’s what they want to mix most when you see them behind the stick this summer.

Bartender of the Year: Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House
The Drink: Gin Soaked Boy
What’s in it: Citadelle gin, Ransom Old Tom gin, Nolet’s gin, sloe gin, fino sherry, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice
Why it’s great: “It’s super refreshing, beautiful and quite boozy. Our bartender Mandi Kowalski actually came up with it, and I love the whole package. The name is also the name of a Tom Waits song, and I love Tom Waits. It also includes my favorite gins and looks phenomenal when you’re drinking it. It’s aromatic, beautiful and nostalgic.”

Second Place: Kyle Mathis at Taste
The Drink: Walla Walla Bing Bang
What’s in it: El Dorado spiced rum, North Shore Mighty gin, Smith & Cross Jamaica rum, passion fruit, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit and lime juices
Why it’s great: “It’s sweet and fruit-forward from passion fruit and house-made cinnamon syrup. I loved the challenge of putting gin and rum together – the botanical nature of gin and sweetness of rum are polar opposites.”

Third Place: Bess Kretsinger at Olio 
The Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz
What’s in it: Boodles gin, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, orange blossom water, egg whites, cream and sugar
Why it’s great: “This drink is in honor of Tennessee Williams. He was fond of the (Ramos) Gin Fizz. It’s not a super esoteric drink, but it’s based on his roots. It’s a simple but obscure cocktail.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman at Eclipse Restaurant
The Drink: Year Old Manhattan
What’s in it: Rittenhouse rye, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Pierre Ferrand Dry curaçao and Angostura bitters
Why it’s great: “I started this project about four years ago. I batch a full glass bottle of Manhattans and rest them in our storage cellar for at least a year. The cocktail begins to take on sherry- and Madeira-like qualities. … I’m always surprised by flavors I hadn’t picked up in previous tastings.”

-photo by Emily Suzanne

The Scoop: Wine director Andrey Ivanov, bar manager John Fausz to leave Elaia and Olio

Monday, December 15th, 2014


{From left, John Fausz and Andrey Ivanov}


Things are shaking up behind the bars at Elaia and Olio. Wine director Andrey Ivanov and Olio bar manager John Fausz are leaving the sister restaurants in the next month, as reported by Feast.

Fausz, a member of the Ones to Watch class of 2011, said that after more than two years behind the bar at Olio, he was ready for a break. His last day is Dec. 31. “I don’t have anything solid planned,” Fausz said, “mostly just going to focus on taking some time off … do some traveling.”

Chef-owner Ben Poremba said Fausz has been training bartender Bess Kretsinger to fill the bar manager role. “Bess came along and they struck a great dynamic between the two of them,” Poremba said.

Fausz said while he doesn’t yet know what bar he will land behind, Poremba and Ivanov’s passion and knowledge have forever altered his work as a barman. “I feel like now for the first time I have a base in the culinary field and the drinking community,” he said. “Working with Ben was a huge honor. He has a really unique capacity to inspire a lot of hard work and creative work from people.” Fausz credits Ivanov for helping to channel his enthusiasm for spirits into the world of wine. “I was all about beer and cocktails and whiskey,” he said. “(Ivanov) sort of knew that he could unlock even more nerdy passion.”

Poremba said Ivanov would remain at the restaurants to help train staff through the last week of January, before he moves on to his next project: working with soon-to-be former Taste executive chef Matt Daughaday on his upcoming restaurant. Poremba does not know if he will replace Ivanov with another wine director. With a few other sommeliers on staff and the front of house at both Olio and Elaia under the direction of general manager Kara Flaherty, Poremba said that he will not rush into any decision yet. “The wine cellar is full, so I don’t have to hurry I can make smart decisions,” he said. “Whoever (it is) has some big shoes to fill.”

“It’s still going to be exciting,” said Poremba of the beverage programs at Elaia and Olio, which have been widely lauded for their eclectic and unique style. He envisions the programs to be “less idiosyncratic, probably a little more approachable, things anyone on my staff can understand.”

Ivanov and Daughaday did not immediately return requests for comment.

-Fausz photo by Carmen Troesser, Ivanov photo by Ashley Gieseking

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