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Here's Who You Voted as Best Bartender in San Diego

We asked you to nominate and vote for your favorite bartenders and vote you did, over 2,000 of you. Thank you.

Though there were certainly some talented names missing, the list was stacked with amazing local talent; use it as a guide to sample the work of some of our best local drink-makers.

In the end, fans and friends of The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge's Vasilios Karatolis propelled him to the top, with over 800 votes. A hearty congrats also go to Sarah Ellis of Jayne's Gastropub, who garnered 700+ votes. Let's learn more about these two bartenders below.

Vasilios Karatolis, The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge

How many years have you been bartending?
10 years.

Where else have you worked?
Before The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge, I worked at California Cuisine in Hillcrest.

What's your best thing about your job?

Serving guests who appreciate a well-made cocktail. I also enjoy working in a sustainable food and cocktail environment where I know the ingredients have been freshly picked and locally sourced.

What's your favorite drink on your menu right now?
My favorite cocktail right now is one I created called Per Se: Small Batch Gin with Aperol, muddled mint and citrus. It will be on The Wellington's new holiday menu.

What bar do you frequent when you're not working and why?
I go to Gilly's because it reminds me of bars back home in Milwaukee. Plus, Michelle and Tadas rock that bar!

How would you describe San Diego's cocktail culture?
It's experiencing a renaissance and the excitement is palpable. Competition is healthy, and a city can never have too many bars that make great cocktails.

Sarah Ellis, Jayne's Gastropub

How many years have you been bartending?
About three and a half years.

Where else have you worked?
I started out at Noble Experiment when it opened. I got very lucky in being able to train and learn about cocktails from NYC's Sam Ross. From there I landed a bartending gig at El Dorado and then a year later I heard about Jayne's Gastropub and the rest is history.

What's your best thing about your job?
I guess I would have to say Jayne herself. She was a bartender for years in San Diego and San Francisco, so she really knows how to run a business. She gives me a lot of freedom to do whatever I want with the cocktail program and has really created a second home for me at Jayne's.

What's your favorite drink on your menu right now?
The Organic Pumpkin Fix. It has Crusoe Organic Spiced Rim, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, house-made honey syrup and a pumpkin puree. It is served over crushed ice with a dusting of cinnamon on top and it's citrusy and refreshing with just the right amount of seasonal spice.

What bar do you frequent when you're not working and why?
Most nights you can find me at Sycamore Den. I worked with Eric Johnson at Noble Experiment, and his cocktail program is exceptional. Every bartender who works there is incredibly talented and a lot of fun. I'm usually the girl at the bar with a shot of cynar and a Miller Highlife rocking out to the 90s slow jams.

How would you describe San Diego's cocktail culture?
Exceptional. There are so many talented people doing so many different things with their programs. The scene is very connected so it's a lot of fun to be able to learn and grow by tasting what everyone has to offer...and then tasting some more.
· All Cocktail Week 2013 Coverage [~ESD~]

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