SUBSCRIBE BY MAY 31ST TO GET THE SAKE IT TO ME BOX! SHIPPING THE WEEK OF JUNE 5TH.
SeongHa Lee—US winner of the 2015 Bols Around the World competition—has literally gone around the world in his pursuit of spirits knowledge and bar technique. The “500-percent super-Korean” barman (his words!) serves as lead bartender at Zuma (in Las Vegas's The Cosmopolitan), where he's known for his sharp presentation and polished manner. In 2016, he established and hosted the Bar Fighter cocktail competition in Seoul, South Korea, to raise funds for children’s cancer research. Competitions (such as the Marie Brizard Masters—winner, US, 2016) and guest bartending stints have sent Lee to Bordeaux, London, Moscow, and the Netherlands, while others (like the Las Vegas’s Best Bartender Competition—winner, 2016) have allowed him to shine in his adopted hometown.
Blaze Montana started working in the hospitality industry when he was sixteen and got into craft cocktails when he turned twenty-one. For the next few years he worked in a variety of venues, ranging from craft cocktail bars to nightclubs. During this time, his main goal was to merge the flair of the bartending and cocktail worlds. He helped build and run the beverage program at the award-winning Humpback Sally’s in Bismarck, ND—a multi-concept venue consisting of a rooftop beer garden, a small plates tavern, a speakeasy-style bar, a catering space, and a travel-themed cocktail bar—and is currently opening up the much-anticipated Front & Cooper in Santa Cruz, CA.
Daren Swisher has worked at various bars in Boston and Cambridge since graduating from college in 2006. Before joining Cushman Concepts to help open Hojoko, he was the head bartender at jm Curley. To give you a sense of his dedication to his craft: When bonded Old Fitzgerald was discontinued, Daren drove to Kentucky where he'd heard it was still available (thankfully, it was). Recently he shared the honor of being named bartender of the year by Eater.