Ahead of the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, Bartenders Share What Booze They Love and Hate

March 29, 2023 | Lauren Drewes Daniles | Dallas Observer

is this weekend. This four-day event (March 30 – April 2) is a colossal roundup of Cowtown's finest. There are nine separate events spread out over the four days, from a Noche Del Soul on Thursday to a Southern brunch on Sunday. Events in between celebrate wine, tacos, tequila, burgers, barbecue and other great bites from around North Texas

One event that caught our eye is the Night Market on Friday from 8 to 11:30 p.m at Whiskey Ranch, the mothership of Firestone and Robertson Distilling, producer of TX Whiskey. This distillery, surrounded by wide open spaces, will host a street-market style event with plenty of TX Whiskey cocktails alongside craft beer and wine.

In preparation for the Night Market, we reached out to some of the participating bartenders with three questions:

1. What drink do you love making or drinking?
2. What drink do you most hate to make?
3. What's the most defining drink of North Texas?


Pam Moncrief

Don Artemio Mexican Heritage
Hospitality Manager and Head Bartender

1. Personally, I cannot beat a shot of mezcal and a cold Modelo. When it comes to a guest, my favorite cocktail to make and serve is the one that brings them joy! It's a pleasure to make someone's day with something as simple as a cocktail!

2. Whoa! Hate is a strong word! The only cocktail I'm not a fan of making is one that is intended for someone who is not nice to the staff!

3. Gotta be the ranch water. This simple West Texas cocktail has flooded Funkytown and beyond!

Jason Pollard

The Usual
Managing Partner and Head Bartender

1. There will always be something special to me about making Sazeracs. It was the first proper cocktail I had where I realized that there was more to this whole thing than slinging beers and making kamikazes.

2. There's not really a drink I hate to make, some are a bit more labor-intensive. But at the end of the day, it's all about making something that the guest is going to enjoy.

3. I think North Texas' bar scene is too rich and diverse to be defined by one drink. I think what unites us is our independence — we're going to do things our own way.

Remington Valadez

Reata Restaurant

1. I don't really have a least favorite drink to make, but if I had to pick any type, I would say it would be a muddled berry type drink, just because the seeds can get everywhere and the dark dyes from the berries can stain the tin, making it harder to clean.

2. My favorite drink is probably an old fashioned. It's simple to make and doesn't add too many ingredients to distract from the natural bourbon taste.

3. The most Texan drink has to be a ranch water! Use the local Socorro brand tequila to make it truly North Texan!

James Johnson

Sidesaddle Saloon
Head Bartender

1. I hate making anything with pickles. They are not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean.

2. Manhattan before dinner is my drink.

3. Most defining, I would say, the Beth Dutton at Sidesaddle, but I'm biased. Who doesn't like apple pie though! [A Beth Dutton has TX Whiskey, Licor 43, Ancho Reyes, spicy cinnamon syrup and lemon.]


Kellen Hamrah

Clay Pigeon Food and Drink
Director of Operations at From Scratch Hospitality and Bartender

1. The drink I most hate to make is a vodka and soda.

2. I love making and drinking Negronis. Whether it's the classic construction or a modern riff they are simple, yet exceedingly complex.

3. I think the defining drink of North Texas is the frozen margarita and all of its iterations.


Misty Villarreal

La Onda
Co-owner and Head of Bar Program

1. I don't have a drink I hate to make! I don't mind making anything. Something I don't enjoy, though, is a guest wanting me to make them something I like. Everyone's palate and taste is different, and I prefer to make a cocktail suited to that person's likes so they have the best possible experience.

2. I personally love making any cocktail with gin as the primary spirit. I'm a gin lover and I enjoy introducing guests that are normally vodka drinkers to the wonderful world of gin. My personal favorite is Gompers Gin.

3. Ranch waters and espresso martinis are all the craze right now, but I think DFW can be represented perfectly with a margarita. There are so many great variations done by talented bartenders across the metroplex. Our cities have a great mix of Hispanic and Latino communities and culture. And you can never go wrong with a good margarita!

View the Full Article