Charleston: The Ultimate Local's Guide
Sabrina Mailhot is a mixologist set on breaking the industry’s glass ceiling. Known as a hospitable and highly respected bartender, Mailhot works hard to make the industry a true community where bartenders support each other at work and events. Warm and fuzzy feelings aside, Mailhot is also happy to shake people’s perceptions of what British cocktails taste like at the bar of Bishop & Bagg.
One of Montreal’s undisputed mixology giants is Fabien Maillard, the founder, owner, and master mixologist at Le Lab comptoir à cocktails. Maillard was one of the earliest participants of MWL, later taking a backstage seat later and allowing his “labtenders” to have the spotlight. MWL helped Le Lab achieve worldwide fame, making Maillard a household name for Canadians who give a damn about cocktails. With more than 15 years of experience behind the bar, Maillard is now content to rest on his laurels and let his bartenders and restaurant shine, but his skills and reputation remain unparalleled.
Jonathan Elbaz, the bartender at Le 132 Bar Vintage, was well known before he won People’s Choice at MWL 2014, but there’s no doubt that the title took him and his bar on rue Fleury Ouest to the next level. Now, Elbaz is mentioned in the same breath as the best for his refreshing cocktails and use of natural ingredients.
Though she's worked in restaurants since the age of 14, Rachel Osborne is not content limiting herself to just being a bartender. A tattoo artist and painter, she is described as a true rockstar, versatile and disciplined. Her extravagant flare, grunge style, and work ethic truly make her stand out in the largely male-dominated space of craft cocktails.
Pierre-Hughes Marois is a member of the newest generation of Montreal bartenders, indelibly leaving his mark with his outgoing and friendly attitude along with his drinks. After helping cement Taverne Midway’s reputation as a leading cocktail bar in the city, Marois moved on to showcase Montreal at worldwide events and international mixology competitions.
The 2013 MWL Judges’ Choice winner, Pierre Gadouas turned heads again when he won People’s Choice in 2015 by a very large margin with his cucumber, chamomile, and Hendrick’s-based concoction (just LOOK at it). Though ArtGang MTL defines itself as an art gallery rather than a true bar, Gadouas can be caught slinging his impressive, unique drinks at its many special events and openings.
The winner of Judges’ Choice in 2015 for his Asian-inspired Stockton Sour, Tom Albani has managed to make quite a name for himself in the short time he’s been on the bartending circuit. Albani stands out for his ability to balance a cocktail by finding the perfect ratio between alcohol, bitters, sugar, and dilution. Even in Montreal’s demanding cocktail scene, this is considered a culinary gift -- and that’s before we even talk of Albani’s garnishes.
Another veteran of the early days of MWL, Brynley Leach has been a contender, a judge, and a guest at the competition as it's grown throughout the years. His current day job is heading the bar at Jellyfish, one of Montreal’s hottest new restaurants, where he pours his smoke-infused and bacon-spiked creations.
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