May 2012 Bartender of the Month: Nathan Greene
Name: Nathan Greene
Establishment Name: A co-founder of Libation Restoration, a bartending consultancy in Las Vegas, Greene also freelances for Las Vegas distributors as well as for the William Grant & Sons portfolio.
Recent Gigs: A relative newcomer, Greene has only been working the stick since 2010. But in just a few short years, he has made his mark on the mixology world. After graduating from the Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending's beverage management program, Greene has done nothing but study, hone his skills and compete in cocktail competitions. Greene credits his teachers, Bret Stanley, Alex Velez and Heidi Welniak, with inspiring him and opening his eyes to mixology.
Despite his lack of years behind the bar, Greene supported the opening of Las Vegas' Vanguard Lounge in September 2010. After eight months, he was promoted to bar manager and put in charge of creating cocktail menus, purchasing product and staff training, including participating in cocktail competitions. He also was instrumental in helping the lounge be named 2011 Las Vegas Cocktail Bar of the Year by National Public Radio.
Additionally, Greene won the National Restaurant Association's 2010 Star of the Bar competition; he also placed in the Top 10 of the Bombay Sapphire Regional (Las Vegas) Cocktail Competition shortly thereafter. He won the 2011 Ketel One Iron Bar Chef competition along with Dustin Drankiewicz, was one of the Top 25 finalists in Imbibe's 2011 Cocktail Cover Contest, made the San Francisco finals for the Appleton Reserve 2011 Remixology Competition, finished third in the Las Vegas round of the 2012 Campari "Best Aperitivo" Cocktail Competition and placed second in the Las Vegas Ketel One Mix Off, among others.
Most recently, Greene started his own bartending consultancy, Libation Restoration, with partners Roger Gross from Vesper Bar at The Cosmopolitan and Stan Stilwell from Vanguard Lounge in Las Vegas. Besides consulting, Libation Restoration focuses on a line of bitters, tinctures, cordials and shrubs as well as affordable bar gear for the competition bartender; mobile bartending; party planning; and cocktail competition ideas. The company's fresh and unpretentious approach to cocktail creation has helped the men do well in competitions thus far. "Our motto is: 'Restoring faith in humanity, one cocktail at a time,'" Greene says. "I'm extremely excited for what the future holds."
What's in the Shaker: "I have been on a fortified wine kick lately — everything from vermouths to sherrys to ports have found their way into my cocktails lately, including ones I've submitted for all of the competitions recently. I'm also into taking the more masculine, 'all spirits' cocktails, such as the Bobby Burns for instance (Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, Benedictine), and carbonating them or deconstructing then reassembling them with a 'bubbly' aspect (e.g., with Moscato Spumante, Cremant, etc.) to make them more approachable to female patrons."
What You're Sipping & Why: "Bols Barrel Aged Genever in an Old Fashioned, Fidencio Mezcals neat or the St. George Terroir Gin with some Cocchi Americano, The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters and a splash of soda. Why? The Old Fashioned, aside from a Manhattan, is my 'go-to' drink, and I really dig the Barrel Aged Genever; yet, I'm not always in the mood for one, so if I'm with friends, we'll sip the Fidencio line (which is at a great price point). But, when I'm home alone and I'm getting work done on my laptop on my patio sitting with my dog, it's the gin/Cocchi/soda/bitters!"
What You're Dancing to While Mixing: "Ugh, at my last job, all they played was house music. I know what you're thinking, house music and craft cocktails? It was an interesting dichotomy to say the least, but I made it work. When I can, though, I'd play everything from Etta James to Wu-Tang Clan to Marvin Gaye and everything soulful in between. Anything that prevents me from needing a coffee and/or putting in ear plugs to work a shift is all right with me, though!"
Quirks & Quotable: "According to my good friend and former beverage management instructor, Bret Stanley, apparently any cocktail is a winner if it has rhubarb bitters and/or ginger beer in it!"