March 2014 Bartender of the Month: Diane Silvey
Name: Diane Silvey
Establishment: Bartender, Bellagio Las Vegas
Recent Gigs: In 1979 Diane Silvey moved to Lake Tahoe to work for Harrah’s Hotel and Casino as a cocktail waitress. After attending the Harrah’s Bartending School, Silvey became a bartender and worked for Harrah’s for 12 years before moving to Las Vegas in 1992.
Silvey was then hired as a bartender at the newly opened Treasure Island Hotel and Casino where she worked for five years until moving over to the Bellagio in 1998. Hired as one of the original bartender and team leaders at the Bellagio, Silvey was up for the challenge. The Bellagio’s sophistication and style spreads though its casino and beverage outlets and help Silvey to continue to experiment and hone her mixology skills.
Silvey became a member of the United States Bartenders’ Guild – whose goal is to empower bartenders to take charge of their careers through peer-to-peer learning and expert instruction – in 2003. She then went on to become a Bar Smarts graduate in 2010. Silvey has been putting her skills to the test by competing in local and national competitions with great success.
She has won several awards whilst her time as a bartender at Bellagio including three 1st place finishes at the annual Bellagio Cocktail Competition, 1st place in the Beverage Arts Challenge “Grand Mixologist” Cocktail Competition, and 2nd place at Nightclub & Bar Show’s “Shake It Up” Competition in 2012. Then in 2013, Silvey was named the winner of the seventh annual Shake It Up! competition. Silvey took home the top $15,000 prize with a cocktail featuring Larceny Bourbon, Patron XO Café and Pama Pomegranate Liqueur.
1 oz. Larceny Bourbon
½ oz. Patrón XO Café
1 ½ oz. Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
1/8 oz. Root Beer Syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Method: Chilled up in a cocktail coupe.
Garnish: orange rind star & orange zest
She will be competing in the event again this year with a chance to represent the United States in World Cocktail Competition in South Africa on March 25.
Why did you become a bartender?
In 1991 after working as a cocktail waitress at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, NV for 12 years, I was offered an opportunity to train to become a bartender. I was ready for a new challenge, so I decided to enroll in the classes. I have never regretted that decision I made 23 years ago.
What are some fun flavors you’re working with?
As far as flavors go, I’m open to almost any possibility of combinations of flavors. I like to pay respect to the classic cocktails as well as experiment with all the new possibilities that are now acceptable. For example, last year for the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Show, “Shake It Up” competition, I made an apple, cinnamon agave and a white balsamic “Shrub”. It was the first time I had ever attempted this as an ingredient, and I was really happy with the results. I love to roam the isles of the specialty markets to see what catches my eye. I also get a lot of fresh ideas from watching the Food Network.
What's in the mixing glass or shaker for your customers?
One of my favorite things to do, whether it’s for a customer in the casino or for a special event, is to, when I can, created a one-of-a-kind cocktail that is customized to their specific taste. So, in my mixing glass or shaker is the desire to give my guests a fun, memorable experience.
What are you sipping on and why?
I always go straight to the specialty cocktail list, because there’s always something new to experience. I enjoy seeing what other bartenders are creating.
What are you dancing to while mixing?
Two of my favorite songs right now are, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “The Walker” by Fitz and The Tantrums. My spirits (no pun intended), are instantly lifted when I hear these and other songs that are high energy and uplifting.
What are some quirks/quotes you are known for?
I don’t know if I’m quirky, but I do have a healthy sense of humor, and I might say anything at any time to get a laugh and to help to make a happy environment. As far as Quotes go, I have a favorite ‘toast’ that goes: “May All Your Joys Be True Joys, And All Your Pain Be Champagne.”