Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Drink Recipes

Conatser tops PoPFest Bartending Competition—again

In the weeks leading up to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition, much was made of the fact that Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore placed every time he entered what was formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. And last night he kept the streak alive, taking first place with his Manhattan (in)Verse.

PoPFest Bartending Competition winners lookin’ pretty happy. From left, Berto Santoro (3rd), Matt Seiter (Fan Favorite), Jenn Tosatto (2nd) and Chris Conatser (1st).
That bring’s Conatser’s tally to two first-place wins (2008 & 2012), one second (2010) and a third (2009). Not that he was the only one to reaffirm his track record.
Second-place winner Jenn Tosatto, bar manager of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, is a five-time finalist who placed third in 2008. Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin’s bar manager, and Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria, St. Louis were both onstage last year. Santoro took third in 2012; Seiter was voted Fan Favorite.
Theirs weren’t the only familiar faces.  Kansas City’s Travis Stewart of Port Fonda, Paige Unger of Michael Smith Restaurant and Arturo Vera-Felicie of The Farmhouse were all returning competitors. Other finalists included Chris Burmeister, The Goose and Bramble & Hare, Boulder, Colo.; Carol Donovan, Hearty Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.; Phoebe Esmon, Kennett South 2nd, Philadelphia, Pa.; Giovanni Ferlaino, Ludivine, Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Liz Pearce, The Drawing Room, Chicago, Ill.
Did they put on a good show? Absolutely. Continue Reading

In season: lavender

Lavender is one of my favorite flowers, but I can never quite decide what to do with it. Dry it and use it in a lamb rub? Or sew it into sachets, like my friends at Washington Creek Lavender do? But it’s so lovely fresh. This year, the scent sent me to my cocktail books,… Continue Reading

Of shrubs and espresso

Shrubs are a cocktail ingredient, but why stop there? That’s what Caitlin “Corky” Corcoran, a barista at Parisi Artisan Coffee, figured. So she’s now combining all manner of fruits, vinegars and sweeteners into shrubs, and then matching them with espresso. “The cafe’s been letting me go wild,” Corcoran says. And for good reason. Corcoran first… Continue Reading

Shrubbin’ it at Westport Cafe & Bar

Shrubs are a free-form thing. The basic formula’s pretty simple: fruit, sugar and vinegar. How much, what kinds, how they’re combined and how they’re used is then all up to the bartender. Arturo Vera-Felicie continues pushing the shrub envelope at The Farmhouse, most recently by bottling a fizzy cocktail called Ophelia’s Lament that combines aquavit… Continue Reading

More than a shot of Irish

Admit it. You might just do a shot of Irish whiskey tomorrow. I don’t blame you. Those Jameson specials are hard to resist. Just remember that there’s more to Irish whiskey than St. Patrick’s Day. Irish whiskey is a fascinating spirit. Much of it is light and gentle, but there are plenty of heavyweights to… Continue Reading

At the bar: Gram & Dun

Few recent Plaza openings have made as big a splash as Gram & Dun. Maybe it’s because local restauranteur Alan Gaylin’s already built a following with BRGR Kitchen + Bar and Urban Table in Prairie Village. Maybe this spring weather has folks salivating over the pretty patio. Or maybe I’m just excited because Gram &… Continue Reading

Times have changed for Tuaca

It’s funny how things change. Take Tuaca. The first time I tasted this Italian brandy liqueur, it was at Jasper’s. Not the new Jasper’s, but the original at 75th and Wornall, maybe 20 years or so ago. It was an elegant thing back then, served in a warm snifter and meant to be savored slowly.… Continue Reading

Leaping with The Joy of Mixology

Okay, here’s a confession. I always ask bartenders which cocktail books are essential. They always recommend The Joy of Mixology. I always nod knowingly, pretending I’ve read it. But I hadn’t. Until now. I finally ordered a copy from Rainy Day Books and have spent the last few nights combing its pages, dog-earing and underlining… Continue Reading

Of Cognac and Sidecars

I’ve always preferred Cognac in my Sidecars. It’s what my husband used the first time he made one for me, and it’s now hard to settle for plain old brandy. So I was happy when Ryan Maybee showcased the drink during a Cognac tasting hosted by Alexis Ganter of Glazer’s at The Rieger Hotel Grill… Continue Reading

More Manifesto favorites

Deciding which recipes to run with articles is painful at times, and my recent piece in Imbibe! was no different. The magazine’s editors picked the Girl From Cadiz, a Hendrick’s cocktail created by Ryan Maybee to represent Manifesto and The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. It is indeed a delicious drink, good enough to be… Continue Reading