Mixing a great drink is one thing; mixing a great drink when there are seven people waiting to order, three people waiting to pay their tab and one person asking you questions about specific drinks is entirely another. With your help, we've chosen eight bartenders that have been adept at all of the above while still flying under the radar - until now. With experience that ranges from more than a decade to mere months, here are eight bartenders that deserve your recognition. Cheers to you, ladies and gentlemen.
Current bar: El Big Bad (419 Travis St.; 713-229-8181)
How long she's been tending bar: 5 years
Favorite drink to make: Any kind of specialty drink on the El Big Bad menu (Churro Flip and Peanut Butter Jelly Time to name a few)
Favorite drink to order: Hemingway, Dark 'n' Stormy or Moscow mule
When not at the bar: She enjoys hanging with her English Mastiff Gus, entering pin-up competitions, going to classic car shows and being a brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry rum.
Kenny "Yeti" Freeman
Current bar: Anvil Bar & Refuge (1424 Westheimer Rd.; 713-523-1622)
How long he's been tending bar: 2 years
Favorite drink to make: Mint julep
Favorite drink to order: Whiskey and a beer
When not at the bar: He's reading a book and drinking coffee, or hanging out at Poison Girl, Double Trouble, Grand Prize and La Carafe.
Cheryl "C-Pain" Gibbs
Current bar: Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge (308 Main St.)
How long she's been tending bar: 10 years
Favorite drink to make: Stirred classics like the Manhattan, old-fashioned and Sazerac
Favorite drink to order: A shot of Campari or Jameson and a Lone Star
When not at the bar: You can find her by the water - beach, pool, boat, on water skis - or at Grand Prize Bar, Beaver's, Goro & Gun, El Big Bad and others.
Nathan "Nasty Nate" Refell
Current bar: 1919 Wine & Mixology (2736 Virginia St.; 713-568-9196), as well as upcoming rum bar, Lei Low
How long he's been tending bar: 6 years
Favorite drink to make: Pisco sours
Favorite drink to order: A shot and a beer, gin martini made with Tanqueray 10
When not at the bar: He's most likely reading old cocktail books, running in Memorial Park, shopping in thrift stores or drinking at Downtown bars like Bad News Bar, Pastry War or El Big Bad.
Leslie "The Drink Alchemist" Ross
Current bar: Triniti (2815 S. Shepherd Dr.; 713-527-9090)
How long she's been tending bar: 13 years
Favorite drink to make: Cocktails made with beer
Favorite drink to order: Mezcal served neat and paired with bubbly, a "match made in heaven"
When not at the bar: She's studying and researching for cocktail inspiration, visiting Tonique in New Orleans or reminiscing about The Bramble Bar in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Current bar: Caracol (2200 Post Oak Blvd.; 713-622-9996)
How long he's been tending bar: 4 years
Favorite drink to make: Old-fashioned
Favorite drink to order: A beer, straight reposado tequila or scotch
When not at the bar: He plays drums in a Latin band and likes to hang out at Flying Saucer, Hay Merchant or karaoke bars.
Current bar: Down House (1801 Yale St.; 713-864-3696)
How long she's been tending bar: 9 months
Favorite drink to make: Caipirinha (she enjoys "violent muddling")
Favorite drink to order: Sherry or a tiki cocktail
When not at the bar: You can catch her sleeping, drinking "absurd" amounts of tea, studying or getting a drink at Double Trouble, 13 Celsius or Poison Girl.
Christa "Monster" Havican
Current bar: Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar (307 Fairview St.; 713-529-1099)
How long she's been tending bar: 3.5 years
Favorite drink to make: Old-fashioned
Favorite drink to order: Old-fashioned
When not at the bar: She's usually baking with booze, painting with watercolors (catch her art show at MKT Bar in Downtown soon), hanging out in Menil Park or visiting industry friends at their bars.