The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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Page 92 of 108

Rising Stars of Mixology OUR COVENENANT HOUSE CALIFORNIA COMPETITION WINNERS EXTEND THEIR BEHINDTHE-BAR EXPERTISE TO OTHER PURSUITS When THE TASTING PANEL sponsored the Covenant House California charity bartending competition last last year (see our December 2013 issue, pages 96–101, for the story), we were hardly prepared for the amazing expertise we would uncover in the Los Angeles mixology scene. We decided that the top winners deserved more exposure, so here's a look at them and their various passions, which reach well beyond the cocktail shaker. by Breanne DeMore / photos by Susan Sabo Edwin Cruz enjoys some of his favorite items of his collection of vintage bar gear, including a few iconic books, a glass jigger and a colorful decanter set from 1930s Amsterdam. RISING STAR OF MIXOLOGY . . . AND COLLECTING Edwin Cruz "My collection started with this one," says Edwin Cruz, as he picks up the big crystal decanter set. The colors of the cups and the antique crystal dance in the afternoon light at The Spare Room in the L.A.'s Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, where Edwin spends his nights manning the bar. "That was in 2007. Since then I've looked in antique shops wherever I travel for additions. I've started to get pickier through the years though, mostly because lack of space. Now, I'll only buy it if it is something that I have never seen before." Cruz picks up a bell-shaped shaker; it actually rings when you shake it—more so when you have liquid inside—and has a strainer hidden in the handle, a Prohibition disguise. "All of these things remind me of specific cocktails I've made and places that I've been," Cruz explains. "They all have meaning—in their history, yes, but also to me, personally." Ideal for The Spare Room, Cruz shows off the bowling pin–shaped vintage Beam bottle he found recently. On the right are two Prohibition-era shakers, one disguised as a bell and one as a fire-extinguisher/ music player that actually plays music when picked up. 92  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_66-108.indd 92 12/19/13 9:48 PM

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