Matthew Wyne, Founder, Letters & Liquor
I find inspiration everywhere, but the question for me is always "how can I create an experience that surprises someone?" Cocktails are different from beer and wine in that there's a little bit of magic to them. The drinker gets to watch these various components come together into something new. I love finding ways to remind people that there is magic in the world.
Rael Petit, @raelpetit, The Williamsburg Hotel, Beverage Director
I grew up cooking french food and both my sister and my mom told me the most important ingredient is love. I imply that principle while making my drinks.
I got bit by the cocktail bug after a trip to New Orleans. Afterward, I made it my mission to find great cocktails in my hometown of Baltimore. I soon decided to document my journey on Instagram, along with my own cocktail recipes. Along the way, I fell in love with photography. I soon quit my day job and set out to work as a content creator and photographer full time.
Shannon Sturgis, @shannonshootscocktails, Photographer
I'm not a bartender! I'm a photographer who specializes in shooting cocktails. I like to refer to myself as bartender adjacent because I spend a lot of time around them and the bar/ liquor industry. I am fortunate to have a lot of travel opportunities to meet bartenders from around the country and occasionally internationally where I get to observe the technique, style and palate of many a bartender. Personally I have a very bitter palate so give me stirred and boozy any day and you'll make me happy.
Brian Van Flandern, Creative Cocktail Consultants, President, @mymixologist
Once you understand the principles of flavor profiling, you can put together an infinite number of flavor combinations. I am constantly on the lookout for unusual ingredients that I have never worked with before. I am fortunate enough that as I travel the world I get to experience new cultures, new foods and new bar techniques from some of the most talented professionals on Earth... this is an endless source of inspiration.
Shaun Traxer, General Manager at Vault, @shauntraxler
Truthfully, I was first intrigued by the flexibility and the compensation (of the bar/restuarant industry). After my first few years behind the stick, I began to understand how deep the rabbit hole went, and decided to follow it. Now over 15 years in, I'm absolutely in love with what I do for a living. It's a pretty nice feeling.
Hannah Chamberlain, Writer/Photographer/Drinker, @spiritedLA
I started @spiritedLA three years ago when I was falling in love with the LA cocktail scene. I had zero formal bar training, but wanted to make drinks at home that resembled the drinks I had at great craft cocktail bars (and WOW, my early efforts were pretty cringe-worthy). But luckily, getting better at cocktail making is a fun process
Elana Lepkowski, Owner StirAndStrain.com, @stirandstrain
The Stir and Strain blog is a go-to creative resource for cocktail enthusiasts, and a regular source of inspiration for design and style readers. The blog features original cocktail recipes as well as variations on classics, plus a look at what’s cool in the bar world and must have accessories for the home bar.