Two Bristol residents are making their mark in the world beverage industry.
Jason Kindness, a bartender at Malt restaurant in Newport, will be traveling to Las Vegas to compete in the GQ Magazine Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender event in September; and Frank Martucci, general manager of beverage operations at Twin River Casino, is one of two U.S. representatives who will be headed to Prague, Czech Republic this week for the 62nd World Cocktail Championships and International Bartender’s Association World Beverage Meeting.
“There’s a story behind every bottle, whether it’s locally made or imported,” Mr. Martucci said. “And bartenders need to understand what’s in each bottle, how to mix things and make drinks with it, and serve responsibly.”
Mr. Martucci is also the vice president of the United States Bartender’s Guild, and president of the Rhode Island chapter of which Mr. Kindness is a member.
Mr. Kindness recently won the Bombay Sapphire state competition, where he concocted a Jane Pickens – a cocktail mixture of gin, homemade lavender bitters, pimm’s, fresh lime juice and served with a candied lavender wand.
“Classic old-school cocktails are often named after Broadway and movie stars of that day,” Mr. Kindness said. “Jane Pickens was a singer from the ’20s and ’30s who also retired in Newport. She did a lot of philanthropy here. It’s a well-balanced cocktail where you can still taste the gin but not be overpowered by it.”
Like the state competition, Mr. Kindness will be tasked to create a cocktail out of whatever fresh ingredients he is provided in Las Vegas.
“People are looking for just as much experience with cocktails as they are with food,” he said.
“Fresh is certainly the wave of the bar tending future,” Mr. Martucci added. “We can see a lot of people, younger or older, moving toward a more quality drink. Anything fresh is becoming more popular. People are not drinking as much nowadays and want more quality than quantity.”
There will be 61 countries represented at the Cocktail Championships and IBA meeting in Prague. Attendees will learn about the latest in beverage education, how to serve responsibly and how to make the industry better overall, Mr. Martucci said.
“It’s a fun industry,” he said, “but it has a responsibility as well.”