The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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1 12  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2014 "I'm a Libra, so I just try to find balance," Kristina Howald, winner of this year's All Star Mixology competition and Bar Director at Bestia, explains when questioned about how she handles the demanding, and seemingly opposing, roles of managing the bar program for a Downtown L.A. hotspot and mothering her three- year-old son, Shea. It might help that Howald's "partner in crime"/Shea's father—Julian Cox, an award-winning mixologist and the person who originally instilled a passion for bartending in Howald—also understands the stresses of the bar industry. Finding that balance to Howald means eating right and exercising—she just completed a 21-day cleanse diet, which she did admit to cheating on a little when it came to the rule of no alcohol (It's not cheating if it's your job—Ed.). It also includes a healthy dose of vitamin D. Her favorite spot to soak in the rays? Manhattan Beach, a wide, sandy beach lined with volleyball courts and beautiful homes, just south of L.A. "It's just so nice to be able to head to the beach while the rest of the country is beginning their deep freeze. When Shea is not with me at the beach, I like to put in my headphones and take a moment to relax or read. Currently, I'm diving into some management books like Setting the Table," she mentions as she takes Shea's hand, who would rather be "building sandcastles and going into the water." All her reading will unquestionably come in handy as she tries her hand at new endeavors outside the bar in the near future. As an All-Star Mixologist: Making the winning cocktail of the night with No. 209 Gin, Howald was very familiar with the brand, having worked with them at events in the past and having carried them at Bestia since it opened. "I felt bad putting it in a cocktail since the No. 209 Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Reserve Gin is so nice on its own," she laughed. "It was such a beautiful event and all the guests were so warm and wonderful. I love being able to be a part of charities that raise money for a great cause." Beyond the Stick by Emily Coleman and Brian Kustera PHOTO: GENEVIEVE DAVIS PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM Kristina Howald: A Juggling Act B artending can become an all-consuming profession: creating recipes, staying current on new spirits and techniques, hours of prep, competitions . . . not to mention the time actually spent tending the bar. That's why we decided to see how the winners of our Covenant House California All-Star Mixology Competition—which took place in October at Skybar at Mondrian Los Angeles hotel (for the full feature, see our November 2014 issue)—balance out their hectic working life and learn a little bit more about what makes them tick when they are off the clock. Shea & Night ◗ 1½ oz. No. 209 Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Reserve Gin ◗ ½ oz. fresh lemon juice ◗ ½ oz. amontillado Sherry ◗ ¾ oz. three-spice pineapple syrup ◗ ¾ oz. cured peach juice ◗ 2 slices of cured peaches (will be puréed and remeasured) ◗ ¼ oz. allspice dram

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