On March 7, Devour Phoenix held its 3rd Annual Bartending Competition. Eleven bartenders from all over the Valley duked it out to claim the title of Top Bartender. With the help of Arroyo Vodka, these tenders of bar and mixologists concocted cocktails beyond our wildest imaginations. But of course there can be only one winner. Who claimed the prize? The Windsor’s own Matty Heland. Matty’s creation: Cocktail No. 9.
Finding inspiration from his Norwegian and Hispanic ancestry, Matty created a truly unique Southwest version of the classic White Russian (more on that later). Reflected in his responses from this 120 Seconds, Matty has an upbeat attitude, worthy of the Top Bartender title and plenty of tips.
Let’s get to know Matty and learn about his insight on bartending and bar etiquette. With everything he’s seen, we would totally read a book about his mishaps.
DLT: What was your inspiration for Cocktail No. 9?
My Norwegian/Hispanic heritage, growing up here in Arizona, and White Russians. Norwegians love their vodka, so I infused the spirit with some local ingredients, then paired it with a homemade, traditional Horchata.
Three don’ts every bar patron should adhere to?
Don’t rest your head on the bar. No whistling or snapping at the bartender… I’m not a dog. Understand that I’m looking out for you when I cut you off.
Three do’s every bar patron should adhere to?
Remember your Please and Thank You’s. Respect your fellow patrons. Have fun.
What’s your favorite drink to make?
An Old Fashioned. It’s historic, classic and still relevant today.
What’s an easy drink to make to impress that special someone?
Anything where you can muddle and carve a nice zest. People love action and a personal touch.
How do you feel about winning the bartending challenge?
Flabbergasted!! Super Stoked! Devoured is an awesome event that supports local restaurants and I am glad I was able to be a part of it.
The one drink no one should ever order at a crowded bar?
Anything that calls for a blender…
Is there anything we can do to get the attention of a bartender in a polite manner?
Eye contact and a smile always works.
What are your favorite bars around town?
Casey Moore’s, Shady’s, Char’s Has the Blues, Dilly Dally, Downstairs at Rokerij, Hanny’s.
Favorite moment in your bartending career?
March 7th, 2012 approximately 8pm.
Any crazy stories from your nights bartending?
I’m saving those for my tell-all book…
Is it appropriate to tip when ordering a water at the bar?
As a general rule of thumb, we always appreciate tips.