New York Magazine

  Our Expert Panel
  Meet Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, and David Wondrich.  
  Classics with a Twist
  New spins on daiquiris, Bloody Marys, martinis, and margaritas.  
  Masters of the Mix
  When our experts are thirsty, here are the bartenders they trust.  
  Trend Report
  What's hot, from sassy saketinis to all cocktails pomegranate.  
  Get the Recipes
  Our panel of experts provides recipes from the city's best bars.  
Masters of the Mix
Our panel of experts pick their favorite bartenders. It wasn't easy: "New York is full of folks who know how to run a bar, manage a crowd, get everybody exactly what they ordered, and make it all look easy," says David Wondrich. "Which it most assuredly ain't."
 The Pour House: Stefan Trummer works his magic at Bar Masa.
 (Photo credit: Kate Appleton)

Jerri Banks
Taj, 48 W. 21st St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.; 212-620-3033;

You won't find Banks behind the bar at Taj, but you'll certainly find the creations of her cocktail genius, including the signature Juniperotivo, which we liken to alcohol nirvana. "I love her work," says Audrey Saunders. "She creates a wonderful aroma," adds Julie Reiner, who's particularly smitten with the essences Banks creates.

Winston Cole
Zarela, 953 Second Ave., between 50th and 51st Sts.; 212-644-6740;

"He understands balance," says Audrey, explaining why Cole's margaritas taste so good. "They're always a perfect ratio."

Evan Freeman
wd-50, 50 Clinton St., between Stanton and Rivington Sts.; 212-477-2900;

Audrey is a fan of Freeman, who tends bar on weekends at wd-50, whisking up cocktails like the Shanghaied Sazarac (rye, kumquat simple syrup, peychaud bitters) that just might reach the innovative heights of Wylie Dufresne's cooking.

Fred McKibbin
Grace, 114 Franklin St, between Church St. and West Broadway; 212-343-4200

McKibbin "knows his ingredients and can knock out cocktails consistently and quickly," says David Wondrich. Works for us.

Del Pedro

Both Audrey and David praise Pedro, formerly of Grange Hall. "He's just someone who can make a great cocktail without having to think about it," says Audrey, who's especially fond of his whiskey creations. Here's hoping Pedro finds a new home—fast.

Sasha Petraske and staff
Milk & Honey, 134 Eldridge St.; unlisted phone

Julie likes Laura's "great" Silver Rye Fizz. But Audrey's less picky: "Order anything. They kick ass." Don't have Milk and Honey's secret phone number? In May, Petraske opens the East Side Company Bar on Essex Street, and this time everyone's invited.

Stefan Trummer
Bar Masa, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, at 59th St.; 212-823-9800

Trummer, formerly of Citarella, gets high marks from Audrey. At Bar Masa, he creates Asian-inspired cocktails incorporating sake and exotic fresh fruit, including the Asian Dawn (gin, sake, fresh yuzu, grapefruit grenaté).

Michael Waterhouse
Dylan Prime Lounge, 62 Laight St., at Greenwich St.; 212-334-4783;

Audrey admires Waterhouse, an owner at Dylan Prime, whose innovative cocktails include a 48-ounce martini for sharing and a "Bloodless" Mary.

Jason Woodruff
Joe Allen, 326 West 46th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves.; 212-581-6464;

Woodruff "knows not to monkey with the classics when he makes them," says David. "I like that."
Published April 19, 2004