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Bartender Spirits Awards

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Makenzie Helem

Top 30 bartenders in the US for USBG World Class 2023 and Bartender at Spilt Milk, Chicago

I started in the industry while in college and was given the chance to bartend at a local cocktail bar, Miller's Back Door in Bellingham, WA. That's where my love for bartending and passion for creating cocktails really came to life. I love experimenting with kitchen techniques or incorporating food aspects into my drinks. My favorite is reading a menu description and thinking "how is that going to taste together" or "how did they do that" and then I have to try it. My ideal day is being a little rat exploring the city, eating as many pastries as possible and ending the night with a Nic Cage movie marathon with a hard seltzer in hand.

Meet our Judges

Trudy Thomas

Corporate Director of Beverage at Southworth Development, Spirits Educator and Mixologist, Nashville

Lee Zaremba

Owner, De La Nonna and Enzo Discoteca De La Nonna, Los Angeles

Valerie Cao

Director of Operations & Beverage Director, Le Colonial, Chicago

Mike Ryan

Global Beverage Director, Acurio International, Chicago