May 2013 Bartender of the Month: Kate Gerwin

Name: Kate Gerwin

Establishment: owner, Imbibe Cigar Bar, Albuquerque, NM and head consultant for BarMagic of Las Vegas

Recent Gigs:
Born in the heart of wine country California, Kate Gerwin was destined for a career in the hospitality industry. She studied winemaking while working for notable wineries such as Flora Springs Winery, Quivera Vineyards, Chalk Hill Winery and Helen Turley & Associates. Kate is a certified sommelier from the International Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators, she is Barmarts Certified and is one of few who holds an Expert Diplome es Vins de Bordeaux awarded by the Consiel Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux.

Photo provided by: Eric Williams Photography

Kate has also been an curriculum author and instructor at two esteemed culinary schools: Le Cordon Bleu’s Scottsdale Culinary Institute and New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. As an owner and operator of one of New Mexico’s most awarded fine dining/craft cocktail establishments, Kate was voted “Best Sommelier in Albuquerque” by readers of Local iQ Magazine for their annual Smart List Awards three consecutive years (2010, 2011 & 2012) and Best Bartender (2010 & 2012). She was also voted “Best Wine Steward” by alibi readers in their annual “Best of Burque Awards”.

She has become a leader in the cocktail movement in New Mexico, mentoring bartenders and founding a USBG chapter as well as a LUPEC chapter in her home state. She enjoys writing a regular column on mixology trends and spirits for Local iQ Magazine. Kate has consulted for and opened over 17 restaurants and bars during her career.

In addition, Kate’s cocktail programs have received a multitude of both local and national awards and she loves to compete. She has competed in regional and national bartending competitions winning a multitude of championships including being named one of the 2012 Finalist in the national “Shake it Up” competition at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas.

Kate now works as head consultant for world-famous mixologist Tobin Ellis of BarMagic of Las Vegas. She continues to research her craft, compete in national competitions, and enjoys spending time behind the stick at her bar in Albuquerque, Imbibe.

What’s in the mixing glass/shaker:
Whatever my guest wants... served with a smile. I don't need to always be fancy or trendsetting (don't get me wrong, I love to be creative and impress my guests) but in the end it's about giving the guest what they want and making them feel good about it. 

What are some hot summer trends:
Who doesn't love a well-made tiki drink? I know I do. I don't think it's really that much of a trend, but fresh is the key. A bright and thirst quenching fresh juiced cocktail is the perfect way to beat the heat.

What are you sipping:
Mezcal, specifically Del Maguey Tobala. There are no words that can truly describe the experience, its heritage, culture, pride, hard work and history all in one spirit.

What are you dancing to while mixing:
While I mix I dance like no one is watching. During the day in the summer a little reggae, at night we pump a little hip hop and techno and on the weekends I like a little rock n’ roll to keep me going. 

Quirks you are known for:
I guess you would have to ask my staff. I am big on “mise en place” where everything has a home and make sure it makes it home. I hate things to be out of place.

Quotes you are known for:
Tobin will love this... “Ten minutes early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.”

Final Thoughts:
This is amazing, I am honored and humbled. There is nothing like the job we do as bartenders and everyday I am grateful for the community and family we share. I have the best job in the world. No question about it.

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