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2016-2017 Finalists – Nick Incretolli

Name:  Nick Incretolli
Venue: Bar Sazerac
City: Hamilton, On

1. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario.

2. How long have you been a bartender and how did you get into bartending?
I’ve been working behind the wood for 15 years. I’d say my first foray into bartending was making drinks for my family at family events.

3. Where/when was your first gig? How many bartending jobs have you had?
My first job was bartending at Liuna Station which is a local banquet center, where I learned the basics and how to work volume. I worked there through high school and on and off through university and left there after 12 years to expand my knowledge. Since then I’ve had four other gigs.

4. How did you get involved with your venue?
One of the owners Kyle Ferreira who was a co-worker at two previous venues approached me about the idea of a small cocktail bar on an up and coming street in Hamilton and asked if I’d run the cocktail program.

5. What kind of cocktails do you serve at your bar/restaurant? What cocktails are your favorites?
We serve a variety of cocktails at Bar Sazerac. We have select New Orleans’ classics because of our theme, we have a few twists on classics, and some more modern cocktails using modern techniques like sous vide and milk-washing.  We also take a lot of requests for more custom cocktails suited to individual tastes.

My favorite? Depends on my mood, the time of day, where I’m at, and the company I’m with.

6. What turns you on about bartending, what are the new trends that are exciting you?
It’s a joy watching customers take that first sip of a cocktail and seeing the expression on their face as they enjoy something they’ve never experienced before. I also enjoy changing people’s perspectives on spirits they say they “hate”.

I’m excited for the Aviary cocktail book to come out, I haven’t had a chance to go to Chicago for the experience, but I’ve heard many amazing things about the techniques and high concept drinks coming out of there.

7. What’s your cocktail-making style? What are some of your favorite cocktails to make? 
I’d say my style is more suited to creating cocktails tailored to a guest’s tastes. By asking them a few questions, I get a little bit of direction, and I go from there, either taking from my repertoire or creating a one-off cocktail based on what they’ve told me.

My absolute favorite cocktails to make? I’d have to say my own. Cocktails that I’ve taken the time to work on and perfect their balance, and that have gotten the blessing from peers or the public like at MADE WITH LOVE. But, Blue Blazers are just plain fun to make!

8. What spirit is sexiest to you? Why? 
Gin, she’s clean, crisp, refreshing, can wear anything, and tastes good naked! 😉

9. What do you drink as a shot?
I know it’s cliché know but Fernet Branca…it’s so damn good.

10. What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
I like working with Italian Amari, but lately, I’ve been playing around with combos of homemade orgeats and different citrus varieties.

11. Which bartenders have been inspirations for you? 
Well, I’d have to say local bartender James Neil had the most influence on me because he was the first to introduce me to the craft cocktail culture.  About five or six years ago I was still at the banquet centre, and he was working with me at the time and told me about this charity event he was putting on with local bartenders called the Hamilton Cocktail Showcase.  I ended up competing in my first competition and got schooled.  From then on it was learning as much as I can as quickly as I can about the craft, and I’m still learning every day.

Other bartender’s I draw inspiration from are my local peers who I love bouncing ideas off of,  Jamie Boudreau for his experience and genuine love of the craft, and Dave Arnold with his super scientific approach to cocktails.

12. If you could work in any bar in the world for one night where would it be?
That’s tough one! It’s so hard to choose just one so here are a few in no particular order: Operation Dagger in Singapore, NoMad Bar in New York, Foxglove in Hong Kong, Canon in Seattle,  Employees Only in New York.

13. Where do you head on your night off?
Wherever my friends are.

14. What’s your favorite cocktail to order at a bar?
If I trust the bartender, whatever they want to make me. If I’m somewhere new, I’d order a cocktail that seems complex in flavor off of their menu.

15. Do you have a funny bar story to tell us?
What happens in the bar…stays in the bar.

16. What is the most ridiculous cocktail request you had?
Said in a valley girl accent: “ I had this martini one time at a bar, and it was like yellow, and it had this red stuff on top, and it tasted like popsicles…omg can you make me that…great thanks.”

17. What got you into MADE WITH LOVE and how do you feel about the National Finals?
I was first exposed to MADE WITH LOVE when I was invited to attended the Toronto regional finals in 2013 by a brand ambassador friend who I’d met at that first competition I bombed at in Hamilton. Since then I’ve competed the past 3 years.

What got me to this year’s finals? I guess being second best to Jamison Cass since he swept both categories at the regionals this year  :p

I’m pretty pumped for national finals, the national stage to show what I do best which is create, and I am excited to see what everyone comes up with, based on our theme.

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