With the rise in the popularity of mixology, many talented individuals strive to create perfect cocktails. Some focus on classic drinks while others experiment with new and unique flavors; this month, we will be featuring ten world-class bartenders from all over the world!
These skilled mixologists come together for one reason—creating unforgettable experiences through their signature recipes that you can’t find anywhere else.
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1. Tom Lasher-Walker
Tom Lasher-Walker @oneminutemixology is an internationally renowned bartender, public speaker, and drinks writer who has dedicated his career to the world of food and beverage. He began bartending over 15 years ago and quickly established himself as a rising star in the industry thanks to his skill, creativity, and dedication.
One of Tom’s most notable achievements came in 2014 when he won the prestigious Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition with his drink, the Maid in Cuba. This victory was a crowning achievement for Tom, launching him into the spotlight as one of the top bartenders in the world.
It also cemented his reputation as a highly-skilled mixologist. It led to many high-profile opportunities, including working at some of the top bars in Edinburgh, London, and New York.
2. Eryn Reece
Eryn Reece @erynreece is an American bartender with a passion for mixing and creating unique cocktail creations. She is the bar director for two renowned New York City establishments, Banzabar and Freemans Restaurant, where she has been praised for her innovative drink menus.
Her accolades speak for themselves: in 2013, Reece was named Speed Rack National Champion, which recognizes female bartenders across the country, and in 2014 she was named one of the top 25 bartenders in the United States by The Daily Meal.
Reece’s talents have also been profiled and featured in numerous media outlets, including PUNCH, The Daily Beast, Maxim, WPIX, The Spirits Business, Thrillist, and others.
Reece creates some of the most inventive and delicious cocktails at Banzabar, and Shackleton’s Urn is one of her signature drinks.
The cocktail was inspired by the Cobra’s Fang cocktail and is served on crushed ice in an urn-shaped container with a lime lit on fire. The container was created specifically for the glass by a company in Portland, Oregon.
3. Dale DeGroff
Dale DeGroff @kingcocktl is a cocktail legend. Not only did he help to revive the lost art of classic cocktails at the Rainbow Room in the 1990s, but he also completely reinvented the bartending profession.
His innovative approach and dedication to simple, fresh ingredients sparked a cocktail revolution that continues to gain momentum today.
In addition to opening minds and palates, DeGroff has won a slew of prestigious awards, including the James Beard Awards for being “America’s Best Mixologist,” a TOC Lifetime Achievement Award, and Wine Enthusiast’s 2018 Cocktail Legend Award.
A partner in the award-winning Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), DeGroff is also the author of The Craft of the Cocktail (Random House, 2002). This essential bartending guide has influenced the entire hospitality industry and is considered a must-read by many bartenders and mixologists.
4. Lou Narvaez-Ochoa
At just 29 years old, Luis Narvaez-Ochoa ‘Lou’ @loiuie_lou_inthemix has already made a name in the bar, nightlife, and restaurant industry.
With over 12 years of experience under his belt, he has been behind the successful openings of some of North Jersey’s most elite restaurants. His signature program is designed to execute and deliver proficiency to his clientele and beyond.
His reputation has gained him recognition from numerous brands, magazines, and restauranteurs all over the New Jersey, New York, and Florida area—cementing his place as a seasoned hospitality and bartending professional.
5. Benny Hurwitz
As the National Brand Ambassador for Wild Turkey, Benny Hurwitz @bennybourbon101 is responsible for promoting the bourbon whiskey brand across the United States. In addition to his work with Wild Turkey, Hurwitz is also a respected mixologist, serving as Head Bartender at Washington D.C.’s Jack Rose Dining Saloon.
At Jack Rose, Hurwitz was responsible for overseeing all bar programs, including creating a dynamic cocktail menu that featured innovative creations such as the Banana Bread Old Fashioned and Bourbon-Blackberry cocktail.
Hurwitz’s cocktails have been praised by some of the most respected names in the industry, including Tasting Table, Chilled Magazine, DCist, VH1, and Wine & Spirits.
6. Elissa Dunn
Elissa Dunn @the.badass.bartender has always been a go-getter. When she was 18, she told her parents she wanted to bartend and own a bar, but they didn’t agree. So, Elissa decided to become a professional horse trainer instead, a career she had been training for since she was a child.
Elissa never planned on being a desk worker, but after years of working behind the desks, she realized that it wasn’t for her. So with nothing left to lose and an entrepreneurial spirit burning inside of her, she decided to pursue and try bartending. After 7 years, Elissa is now a growing bar personality in the bartending industry.
Since starting as a bartender, Elissa has made quite a name for herself in the cocktail world. From winning top honors at the Liquor 43 competition to being featured in Imbibe magazine, she has proven herself to be both highly skilled and dedicated to her craft.
But Elissa hasn’t just achieved success through competition. She has continued to thrive through her diverse experiences, having worked at bars all over the country, from small local pubs to world-renowned craft cocktail establishments.
In particular, her time spent in Phoenix, AZ, has been particularly impressive—as she consulted on several bar programs in the area, hosted informative mixology classes for major companies, and created content for major brands on social media.
7. Shingo Gokan
Shingo Gokan @shingo_gokan is a man of many talents. He is the founder and representative of SG Group, a bar culture company that operates several award-winning bars.
Still, he is also recognized as one of the leading figures in the international bartending industry. Gokan started his ascent to the top when he placed as global champion at the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition in 2012.
Since then, he has gone on to earn numerous prestigious titles, including International Bartender of the Year at Tales of The Cocktail 2017. Tales of The Cocktail is an annual event that brings together bartenders from all over the world and has been described as the bar industry’s equivalent to the Oscars.
Gokan is one of the most celebrated bartenders in the world. His recent acknowledgments include being awarded Altos Bartender’s Bartender in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 and Roku Industry Icon in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, which has made Gokan the first individual to receive these two awards.
Moreover, Bar World 100 has recognized Gokan as one of the industry’s most influential figures in 2021, placing him in the top 4 individuals in the world.
8. Jhonatan Cruz Torres
Jhonatan Cruz Torres @jhonatancruzt is one of the world’s most talented and innovative bartenders. With years of experience mixing drinks at some of the best bars and restaurants around, he has developed a knack for creating unique and imaginative cocktails that will please even the most discerning of palates.
What’s more, Jhonatan is always full of energy and enthusiasm, making his bar and beverage services a true joy to experience. Whether you’re looking for trendy cocktails or tried-and-true favorites, Jhonatan is guaranteed to have something exciting up his sleeve.
9. Brad Thomas Parsons
While Brad Thomas Parsons @btparsons is a man behind the bar, he is more well-known as the author of Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, Distillery Cats: Profiles in Courage of the World’s Most Spirited Mousers, and Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time.
Parsons received an MFA in writing from Columbia University, and his work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Lucky Peach, Imbibe, and PUNCH, among others. His work explores the history and culture surrounding some of the world’s most beloved beverages.
10. Will Patton
As a D.C. native, Will Patton @ramseydanger has had a unique and varied experience traveling to and living in other major cities around the country.
After spending time in Chicago and New Orleans, he finally decided to return home to D.C., where he has spent the last three years running the bar as the beverage director at Bresca, a Michelin-starred contemporary Parisian bistro.
Throughout his years in the bartending industry, Will has developed a deep understanding of what it takes to create excellent cocktails and has helped shape Bresca into one of the most popular gastronomic destinations in D.C.
Here we are, at the end of our list of the World’s Best Mixologists. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these talented bartenders and their approach to cocktail making. If you’re ever in any of their cities, stop by their bars and try out some of their delicious cocktails!
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