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These Are Denver's Most Talented Cocktail Makers

The Mile High City is recognized for its cocktail culture. These fourteen men and women are among the great talent that you see behind our bars, crafting everything from classic cocktails to creative new ones.

Denver's Most Talented Bartenders
Denver's Most Talented Bartenders
Jennifer Olson

This week Eater celebrates not only cocktails but those who make them possible, the bartenders. It is the third year of spotlighting the talent that makes our bar culture rock. Eleven of Denver's best bartenders, with Sean Kenyon of Williams & Graham and Bryan Dayton of Acorn and Oak at Fourteenth among them, were featured in 2012. Last year, twelve cocktail crafters, including Gerard Collier of TAG and Jason Patz of Williams & Graham, were celebrated in this feature.

Here we are today with 14 talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and opinionated bar men and women who allowed us to pry and ask them a few questions meant to give us all a better understanding of who they are. They dished on all from first jobs to idols and mentors and favorite spirits. In the next few days, we will unveil their profiles.

Right now, it's just time to meet them. From left to right, bottom to top: Brandon Parker (Arvada Tavern), Carly Harris (Golden Moon Speak), Nate Maston (Oak at Fourteenth), Kaitlin Jones (Ste. Ellie), Austin Carson (Mizuna), Michael Cerretani (Blackbelly Market), Mclain Hedges (RiNo Yacht Club), Allison Widdecombe (Williams & Graham), Chris Clewell (Acorn), Stuart Jensen (Mercantile Dining & Provision), Kamuran Mataraci (Argyll Whisky Beer), Sam Johnson (Williams & Graham), Haylee Ortiz (Session Kitchen), Ben Carrington (La Biblioteca).

The featured photo, created by photographer Jennifer Olson, was shot at the Cooper Lounge, one of the main attractions at the newly renovated Union Station.

Please join the Cocktail Week festivities by sharing your opinion through comments, the forums, and the tip line. What is your favorite bar and why? What bartender shakes your gloomiest mood into a pleasant one? Where do you go for the best Negroni, Bloody Mary, Manhattan, and Pisco Sour? All your cocktail-related commentary is requested this week. Cheers!

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