Courtesy Photo

BEING A BETTER BARTENDER: When Alvaro Rojas, owner of Alcazar and Milk & Honey, got together a few months ago with Greg Brechbiel of Sama Sama Kitchen, they had a conversation that just might take Santa Barbara’s bar scene to the next level. “We wanted to create a forum where education and camaraderie were the focus,” said Brechbiel. Added Rojas, “We wanted to get away from the ‘hands over your test paper’ attitude you see out there with cocktail creation.” So the two created The Bartender’s Cabinet, a monthly meeting of barkeeps to discuss everything good about the industry. Enlisting Brandon Ristaino of The Good Lion, the trio are bringing together intellectual speakeasies for those usually on the other side of the bar. So far, presenters have included Ian Cutler of Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, discussing gin distillation, and Dushan Zaric of New York’s Employees Only, who explained how bar service is being reinvented. Upcoming topics will touch on the history of sherry, a sake and Japanese whisky tasting, and trips to various distillers near and far. The next meeting is Monday, February 23, at an undisclosed location. To get an invite, send your info to You don’t have to be a working bartender to join—just have an interesting spirit!


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