“I’m really glad that bartending is becoming a respectable craft again,” a friend said to me recently over cocktails. And it’s true, as the cult of the celebrity chef now seems to be at high-noon, it was only a matter of time before other professions within the restaurant industry got their day in the sun. Lauren Kowalski, president of the United States Bartenders Guild, Buffalo chapter, is looking to further the opportunities for local bartenders. “The goal of the US Bartenders Guild is to further acknowledge and create a sense of community within Buffalo, but also to provide networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities with chapters nationwide,” Kowalski says.
In addition to educating industry professionals about various spirits, wines, and beer, they also offer classes that would be of interest to current or bartenders-to-be: how to shake cocktails so you don’t get a repetitive stress injury, proper footwear for standing hours on end, menu design, and ordering.
“Anyone in the food and beverage industry or anyone with interest in the food and beverage industry should consider becoming a member,” Kowalski says. “We have a veterinarian who is a guild member. They appreciate cocktail culture and want to come to all the events. Next month we’re having an event that will be members only because we’re going to Lockhouse [Distillery] and we’re actually making our own gin, picking out the botanical blend, distilling it ourselves, and everyone will leave with their own, personalized bottle. We also plan on hosting cocktail competitions and more events that are open to the public.”
Don’t feel out of the loop if you haven’t heard of this organization, founded in California in 1948. The Buffalo chapter is very new, and they want to introduce themselves to the public starting the week of August 22 with their National Education Week.
A local chef once said, “Pairing cocktails with food is a nightmare. There is so much going on in a good cocktail, it’s like a plate onto itself.” Challenge accepted: At Providence Social (490 Rhode Island Street), there is a cocktail pairing dinner on Monday, August 22, beginning at 6:30pm with punch and partnering with Martin Scott and Gates Circle Liquor. The first of four courses will be served at 7pm. Tickets are $50 per person. Space is limited, so RSVP by calling either Megan at 716-951-0454 or Lisa at 716-560-5617.
Ever wonder why sometimes Montepulciano is a grape and other times a place? On Tuesday, August 23, Rob Kohout will host an Italian wine education class, 5:30-6:30pm, at La Tavola Trattoria at 1458 Hertel Avenue. This class is $10 for non-members and includes light appetizers; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The guild will also host a beer workshop, but the details are still being figured out. Check the group’s Facebook page for details as they become available: facebook.com/usbgbuffalo.
With just over 50 members in the six months since the Buffalo chapter was chartered, this is the perfect time to come to an event and learn about this organization that aims to change cocktail culture in this city is all about.
USBG Buffalo NY