Russell Davis of Rickhouse in San FranciscoNovember 4, 2011
Bartender of the Year Entry
Name of Bartender: Russell Davis
Name of Bar: Rickhouse
Location: San Francisco
Ownership/Parent Company: Future Bars
Square Footage: 3,000
Open Date: July 1, 2009
A 2010 and 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards Bartender of the Year finalist, Russell Davis continues to make waves on the West Coast after moving to San Francisco last year.
While developing and running the bar program as Bar Manager at Peche in Austin, Texas, and acting as President of the Austin Chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG), Russell, a BarSmarts Advanced Certified bartender, was recruited for bar positions at Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse in San Francisco. Before making the move, Russell created his own bar/spirits/cocktail consulting company and had just released a series of videos online with Tito, of Tito’s Vodka, on making homemade infusions, as well as taking the People’s Choice Award at the 2010 Texas Hill Country Wine Festival’s Grape Escape Cocktail Competition sponsored by Maker’s Mark.
Since moving to California, Russell continues to turn heads with his work behind the bar: representing Rickhouse in 2010 at Gran Marnier’s Bar Room Brawl in New Orleans, winning 1st place at the 2010 Germain-Robin/Craft Distiller’s Cocktail Competition in San Francisco, taking 2nd place (and top human bartender honors) at Lush Life Production’s Humans versus Robots Bartender Competition during the 2011 Portland Cocktail Week, and sweeping up the People's Choice/Best of the Fest Award for San Francisco Magazine's Eco Cocktail Competition during the 2011 SF Bay Fall Fest. Russell also represented Rickhouse at Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) this year when the bar was awarded High Volume Cocktail Bar of the Year.
Russell has and continues to work with many different portfolios and brands, including Anchor Distilling (Old Potrero, Junipero, Genevieve, Luxardo, Chinaco, Maurin Quina, etc), helping with the launch of Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, creating a signature cocktail for the 2010 release of Michael Collins 10 year Single Malt Irish Whiskey, presenting two new signature drinks at the 2011 TOTC opening day's Market Fresh Event for No. 3 Gin and the King’s Ginger, and is currently working on a project with St. George Spirits. Russell has done numerous guest bartending appearances as well, including the 102.9 MIX morning radio show in Dallas, an appearance with Dan Aykroyd representing Crystal Head Vodka for Twin Liquors in Austin, as a judge for the 2010 San Antonio Bombay Sapphire/GQ Most Inspired Bartender competition, as the premiered mixologist for the opening of the Picasso exhibit at the Deyoung Museum in San Francisco, as a judge for the San Francisco School of Bartender’s 2010 Fusion Cocktail Competition, various events with the collaborators of Cocktail Lab in San Francisco (including Science of the Cocktail and Shaker & Flask), and as featured bartender for the Opening Gala and Legend's Awards After Party (representing Liquor.com) for the 2011 San Francisco Cocktail Week.
This year, Russell received his second finalist nomination (1 of 3 in the nation) for the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards Bartender of the Year, and was just named Nightclub & Bar Magazine's October 2011 Bartender of the Month. Most recently, Russell has been featured or mentioned in Nightclub & Bar magazine, AOL San Francisco City's Best, Austin360.com, Details, Imbibe, DrinkoftheWeek.com, Austinist.com, SFist.com, Austin Examiner, Statesman.com, Examiner.com, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, Texas Monthly, two episodes of "Hotmixology" on the Fox Business Network, Irish National Television's "The Business", and on San Francisco's local NBC station for his work with No. 3 Gin and the King's Ginger for a Royal Wedding viewing party in San Francisco thrown by the British Consulate. He also is an active member of the Northern California Chapter of the USBG. You currently can find Russell Davis behind the bar at Rickhouse, at events around San Francisco and around the country acting as a representative/mixologist for Anchor Distilling (who just recently acquired the prestigious Preiss Imports portfolio) or building his newly created bar/spirits/cocktail consulting company.
Although Russell loves his craft, it is but just one aspect of his life. On June 12, 2011, Russell completed his first Olympic distance triathlon in South Maui and raised over $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's cancer research. He also has done work with the Bartender Relief Fund. He believes that bartenders, and others in the service industry, can lead a healthy, active lifestyle while being positive and giving members of society. A Theatre & Dance Major from the University of Texas with a passion for music, Russell also loves to play guitar - something he hasn't put down since growing up on a 400 acre peach farm in a small Texas town of 80 people. Russell plans to continue working behind the bar, where his passion not only lies in perfecting his various techniques used in his innovative and creative signature cocktails, but also in the art of being a true bartender.