Trick Dog's Caitlin Laman is having a damn good year. Back in May, she earned the national title in Speed Rack, a competition in which female bartenders demonstrate their speed and skill to support charitable causes. Now, she's been named to Food & Wine's inaugural class of Best New Mixologists, intended to be the bibulous answer to their famed Best New Chefs program. (She likely earned the prize after impressing F&W restaurant editor Kate Krader, who was one of the judges in the Speed Rack finals.)
Laman, a former rugby player, got her start at Russell Jackson's now-closed Lafitte, before opening Novato's Southern Pacific Smokehouse with Alex Bachman, now chief mixologist for Matthias Merges' acclaimed A10, Billy Sunday, and Yusho, in Chicago. She's polished her skills at Trick Dog, where she turns out complex cocktails for a bustling crowd that's often four deep at the bar.
In addiiton to Laman, a San Francisco bar took home the People's Best New Bar prize for the West: Coqueta's Bar 5, described by F&W as producing "eye-catching, Spanish-style cocktails." The top prize went to New Orleans' Tiki Tolteca, a pop-up bar located on the second floor of a taqueria. Four other SF bars (ABV, Trou Normand, Trick Dog, Dirty Habit) were competitors in the top 100, but did not take home a prize.
Here's the full list of Best New Mixologist winners:
Ryan Casey (McCrady's, Charleston, SC)
Jacyara de Oliveira (Sportsman's Club, Chicago)
Gui Jaroschy (The Broken Shaker, Miami Beach)
Sara Justice (Holeman & Finch, Atlanta)
Caitlin Laman (Trick Dog, San Francisco)
Chris Lowder (The NoMad Bar, New York City)
Jeremy Oertel (Donna, Brooklyn)
Jason Patz (Williams & Graham, Denver)
Alex Renshaw (Drumbar, Chicago)
Tyler Stevens (Teardrop Cocktail Lounge, Portland, OR)