Have you ever wondered where all the smoking hot lesbian bartenders are? Just in time for your next drink, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the country for its all-star queer-tenders and found the best hailing from Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In the mix includes a Speed Rack National Champion, the founder of Women Who Tiki, nominees for the American Bartender of the Year at Tales Of The Cocktail, and much more.
I’ve asked each to share a little bit about themselves, where we can find them slinging drinks, and if they could make a drink for anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what’s their poison? While I don’t tend bar for a living, I’m an at-home spirit enthusiast who is having a love affair right now with rum. If I could make a drink for anyone it would be the inimitable Ruth Bader Gingsburg and I would make her a Diplomático Rum Planas — tart and fresh, just like her rulings.
Next time you’re in one of these cities, order a drink from your favorite queer-tender!
Lacy Hawkins, National Brand Ambassador Monkey 47 Gin, New York City
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lacy Hawkins has been immersed in the beverage industry for over 10 years. For the past two years she’s worked as the National Brand Ambassador for Monkey 47 Gin. She got her start when she worked as a nightclub bouncer and since then, she’s won multiple cocktail competitions, and twice been hailed as a national mixologist to watch by Beverage Media Magazine. Hawkins also helped The NoMad claim a James Beard Award in the category of Best Bar Team. In 2017, she was called out by Nylon as one of the top 30 women running the industry. Hawkins added, “When not sharing my passion for Monkey 47 and love of the beverage industry, I enjoy biking all throughout New York City, beekeeping, collecting rare honeys, and working with ceramics.”
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I don’t know if anyone besides Prince ever got to decide what Prince drinks, but I’d make him a Monkey 47 Aviation with some edible pearlescent luster dust swirling around in the glass.”
Shannon Mustipher is a spirits educator, cocktail consultant, and expert on the topic of rum and cane spirits. She’s poured cocktails in settings ranging from neighborhood pubs to Michelin restaurants, and founded Women Who Tiki, a tropical cocktail pop up of women bartenders who share their talents and collaborate on one-night-only experiences. Her cocktails and opinions have been featured in Punch.com, GQ, Wine Spectator, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, and Liquor.com. Mustipher’s first cocktail book, Tiki — Modern Tropical Cocktails, will be published by Rizolli in spring of 2019.
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I’d make a drink for Josephine Baker — I admire her bold, unapologetic persona, the provocative performances that openly questioned and subverted oppressive attitudes towards women, and her commitment to activism to expose and fight against racial discrimination. The cocktail, Song of the Siren, is an unlikely combination of smoky and earthy flavors from mezcal and rhum agricole, softened by pineapple and cacao, which, when paired with amaro, brings a touch of savory to the table as well. It’s served long and starts off with a fresh and floral note, while the smoky and earthy notes unfold and give the cocktail a long, savory finish.”
Amanda Colom, Head Bartender at The House Of Machines, Los Angeles
Coming from a big Cuban family, Colom learned the importance of cooking from her parents and grandparents. She watched her grandparents make traditional Cuban dishes and often stop mid-chop to dance to their favorite salsa songs playing on the radio. Learning to create cocktails brings back happy memories of being in the kitchen with her family. In her new position as the Global Cocktail Creative with ABL, Alliance Brands Limited, Colom travels the world creating recipes, building teams, and inspiring others to accomplish their passions.
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I would make a cocktail for Celia Cruz, my family’s favorite Cuban artist. There wasn’t one family party or holiday where we didn’t have her music playing. I would love to take a moment to share a few mojitos with her and talk about her life, secrets, and passions.”
Ezra Star, General Manager at Drink, Boston
Ezra Star runs the award-winning bar, Drink, where she is both the General Manager and bartender for the past five years. She has spent 20 years working in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Since she started at Drink in 2011, she has helped to guide the bar to many awards and accolades including 2013 Spirited Awards World’s Best Bar. She has also given presentations at cocktail conferences around the world, and has been featured in numerous spirit journals, books, and magazines. Most recently, Star was nominated for several awards including American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail in 2017 and 2018.
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I would make a Sazerac at the Napoleon house in New Orleans for Napoleon Bonaparte and David Bowie. I think it would be amazing to watch these two people interact and make them drinks at one of the most untouched-looking bars I’ve ever been inside.”
Julia Gordon, Bartender at Lost Lake, Chicago
A native Chicagoan, Julia Gordon works Lost Lake, a bar she describes as “a tropical paradise that serves as a delicious refuge in the big bad city.” She’s been tending bar professionally for five years, but making martinis and cosmopolitans for her father from a young age. Gordon enjoys preparing mojitos, caipirinhas, and ti’ punches (Martinique rhum with a sprinkle of sugar and a drop of lime). “I like the tactile aspect of cutting up the limes, measuring and pouring the raw sugars, using a muddler, and layering a punch. I like to get my hands dirty to create the perfect sip.”
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I would make cocktails for Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner — two humans that were (and still are, in my opinion) the gold standard in inciting joy and laughter in the people around them. I would make them both rich, funky rhum old fashioneds so that they could sip their drinks slowly and we could have as much time together as possible.”
Britt Ingalls, Bar Manager at the Ivy Room at Republic Restorative, Washington, D.C.
Currently the Bar Manager at the Ivy Room at Republic Restoratives, Britt Ingalls is a queer/bisexual post-Mormon woman. Throughout her career, she’s inhabited traditionally male positions like a ski boot fitter, nature preserve land manager, pest control sales associate, and wilderness medicine instructor. Her start behind the stick began as an unwanted barback for a music venue in 2014. As for standing behind the bar, Ingalls says she’s found “enjoyment, community, and a deep sense of empowerment.”
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I would love to make a couple Martinez cocktails for Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. I’m certain they weren’t making craft cocktails at the Stonewall Inn in the ’60s, and I’ve been a bit obsessed with Old Tom gin lately. I love the queer nature and lovely layered flavor profile of a Martinez — it actually preceded its more popular prohibition-era cousin, the Martini. As Old Tom gin as well as vermouth come back into fashion, the original Martinez recipe is ripe for modern riffs.”
Erica Ramirez, Bar Manager at Parkside, Portland
Erica Ramirez is the Bar Manager of Parkside in North Portland and the lead brunch bartender of The Solo Club in North Western Portland. The Solo Club is destination bar that specializes in amaro-focused cocktails. Ramirez, who has been a bartender over the past four years, prides herself in being able to create cocktails that are easy to drink. “My cocktails are usually tart and floral but I also like to create cocktails that are spirit-forward and herbaceous,” Ramirez adds.
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “Edward Gorey. I absolutely admire his work and would make him my ‘Angels with Dirty Faces,’ comprised of Bourbon, Cointreau, Amaro Montenegro, Jelinek Fernet, and citric acid on a big rock with an orange twist.”
Cera Grindstaff, Bartender at Canon, Seattle
Cera Grindstaff is a bartender at Canon bar in Seattle. She’s been slinging cocktails for 12 years and started her career in Boise, Idaho. Having spent some time in the Virgin Islands before settling into Seattle, Grindstaff recently became engaged to the woman of her dreams. While she loves all styles of bartending, Grindstaff says, “Tiki will always complete me. It’s vacation in a glass.”
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “Without a doubt be David Bowie. In my young years of coming out, his music was truly a shining star in my sky and guided me in times when I felt lost. I would flash whip him up a classic tiki drink, the Saturn. Gin oddity with passion fruit, falernum, orgeat, lemon… need I say more? This drink is a tart delight fit to be drunk by Ziggy Stardust himself.”
Melina Meza, Bar Manager at the Broken Shaker, Los Angeles
Melina Meza is currently a bartender at the Broken Shaker in downtown Los Angeles. Although she grew up in Los Angeles, Meza moved to the Midwest in her early twenties, and got her start bartending when some friends opened up a speakeasy-style bar in the back of an abandoned grocery store. She fell in love with sophisticated cocktails and dove head-first into the craft cocktail scene. In 2016, she founded Last Call Consulting, which specializes in curating beverage programs, cocktail menus, spirits training, and private events.
If you could make a cocktails for anyone? “I would make a mezcal Penicillin for the lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer. The combination of the ginger, lemon, and honey paired with the smokiness of the mezcal and the Islay Scotch spritz on top is so refreshing and delicious. It’s a cure-all that leaves you feeling good in more ways than one.”