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A LONE STAR LIFE Dreams Do Come True in by Anthony Head photos by Kirk Weddle I don’t know if I’d trust a bartender who suggests a Screwdriver with my ham- burger. There’s something about the clash of citrus and ground beef that I’m just not buying. And yet, one of the country’s largest wholesale distributors of wines, spirits and beers, Glazer’s Distributors in Dallas, hired a Corporate Mixologist, who now goes on the record with THE TASTING PANEL magazine for doing just that. “The first cocktail I ever made was at age fourteen,” admits Caterina Miltenberger. “We had the family down from the East Coast and we were grilling hamburgers. So I suggested Screwdrivers. I don’t know where I came up with that idea, but I made ten of them ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator. They were all ready to go.” This month, our Texas Editor Anthony Head sees a dream of his own come true. His fiction debut, Lucid, is published on November 1. Visit From such humble beginnings, Cat continued to get better. Lots better. So much so, in fact, that in 2003 her Grand Marnier Margarita was honored by D magazine; then in 2005 she was crowned Tanqueray’s Most Wanted Bartender in Dallas. This was sort of an Iron Chef for bartenders, and Cat’s cocktail, the Lemon Ice Box Pie, came with fresh whipped cream, Tanqueray, simple syrup and lemon juice. Before long, there were many more drinks around Dallas with Cat’s signature on them. She began customizing beverage programs for chef Stephan Pyles and others and launched her own consulting company called SIP Cocktail Catering (the SIP stands for Simply Irresistible Potables). She was already very happy when fate stepped in. “I was serving champagne cocktails at a Christmas party last year,” Cat says, “and one of the women guests asked me about my recipe. She then urged her husband to give it a taste. I guess he liked it, because he asked for my business card. I had one left. I gave him my very last business card. It turned out 82 / the tasting panel / november 2010 Dallas that he was Cary Rossel, the CFO at Glazer’s.” Not long after that she received a call from Randy Porter, Senior Vice President of National Accounts, looking to hire a Corporate Mixologist. He asked if she would like to become a part of Glazer’s, to work directly with the accounts and morph her skills to a brand’s needs, whether that meant developing beverage programs and drink strategies, creating cocktails, and/or per- forming on-premises bar training. “At the time, I was sure it was a joke. To think someone would offer me my dream job? It was a very surreal experience,” she says. But it was no joke. Glazer’s built a bar at corporate headquarters where Cat could con- ceive of, thoroughly test and ultimately release drinks that are appealing to the customer and easily executable for the bartender. When she hits the road to Austin or Houston or else- where, her mission might include rebuilding a cocktail menu through gap analysis. “I look for what flavors are missing and where there’s too much repetitiveness that makes for a boring menu. I saw one yester- day that featured kiwi three times. Why so much kiwi? Especially with so many flavors trending, like tamarind, lemongrass and ginger,” she says. Cat’s radar is also picking up more inter- est in cucumbers, tiki cocktails, and what she calls “farm-to-bar” ingredients. Which means the freshness factor in Texas drinks is about to go up again. (I, for one, always look forward to true market-fresh cocktails.) Not surprisingly, she says this is still her dream job. And she knows it’s an enviable position. When she takes her show on the road, the number one question she’s asked is, “How can I do what you do?” “I always answer that you have to have the passion,” she says with a contented smile. “And you absolutely have to love what you do.”

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