Star Bartender

Going 10 Rounds With Top Bartender Caitlin Laman

The beverage director of the Ace Hotel in Chicago tackles our speed round of questions.

Courtesy Sam Grant Photo

What do you like to drink after a shift? “A little teeny tiny shot of mezcal and a hoppy beer.”

What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song?Tina Turner’s “I Can’t Stand the Rain.””

What drink should be banished and why? “None of them. Let the people drink what they want to drink.”

Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “I remember having a Michelada in Mexico when I was very young and was so overwhelmed by how delicious it was. To be perfectly honest, I still am.”

What cocktail, spirits or food book is your go-to resource? Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla by Peter Liem and Jesús Barquín. It’s a beautiful combination of all the lore, plus the painstakingly technical details of making (and drinking) sherry.”

What’s your favorite bottle of booze that costs less than $25? “Tempus Fugit Spirits Alessio di Torino Sweet Vermouth.”

What’s your favorite bottle of booze that costs more than $100? “Gordon & MacPhail Highland Park 24-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch.”

What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? Martinis and oysters.”

What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “Mezcal and a hoppy beer.”

What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “A Sharpie.”

Caitlin Laman is the beverage director for the Ace Hotel in Chicago. She is also co-founder of Chicago Style, a forward-thinking cocktail conference taking place this May in Chicago.

Interview has been condensed and edited.