Boston Bartenders Collaborative Founder: The Third Generation of Bartenders Is on the Rise

Boston's bartenders band together.
Boston’s bartenders band together. Photo: istockphoto

The new Boston Bartenders Collaborative convenes on this very day at Craigie on Main to make our drinking life even better. Hallelujah! The Gallows bar manager April Wachtel leads this merry band of passionate bartenders, committed to making our drinks a little more innovative, edgy, and thoughtful. Pour yourself a midday tipple and look ahead for her take on Boston’s drinking scene in 2011.

The new initiative is discussed in more historical depth in this Globe piece. But basically, the idea is to unite bartenders to discuss ways to improve the Boston cocktail scene, network, and trade tips. Each theme (sample topic: ice and dilution) gets a three-week treatment: On week one there’s a round-table discussion, week two offers a participant-led seminar, and the topic’s wrapped up on week three with a guest speaker. This comes hot on the heels of Boston getting its very own chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, a professional networking organization.

And what does this mean for you, hopeful drinker? Luscious libations, of course.

“There’s this wealth of third generation bartenders who have seen some amazing stuff that their predecessors [stalwarts like, say, Jackson Cannon] have done,” Wachtel says. “We can take this and run with it.” Wachtel says that many first-generation bartenders are now acting as national consultants and beverage directors, and by and large it’s a newer, rapturous crowd pouring the drinks. People like John Mayer at Craigie on Main, Tyler Wang at Drink, Sean Frederick at Citizen Public House, and Nick Korn at Erbaluce (to name a handful) are among the next generation of Boston bartenders involved with Wachtel’s movement. Kirsten Amann of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (that’s LUPEC to you) is also involved.

As for groundbreaking watering holes, Wachtel gives props to her home-base The Gallows (of course), but also name-checks Russell House Tavern and Hungry Mother as forerunners of the craft cocktail movement as well as “fun, neighborhood-y” places. (“Hungry Mother’s staff is well-educated in the classics,” Wachtel says. “And Eastern Standard and Island Creek are really solid, too.”)

So far, says Wachtel, she’s been “overwhelmed” by her colleagues’ enthusiasm. And because these meetings happen at noon, we’re thinking it’s pretty safe to say the overwhelming enthusiasm isn’t fueled by alcohol alone.

Boston Barkeeps Organize [Globe]

Boston Bartenders Collaborative Founder: The Third Generation of Bartenders Is