Pre-Perfect Pour Stir: 8 Questions with Bartender Kenzie Rhode

Kenzie Rhode, bartender at The Berry & Rye, is one of our talented Perfect Pour finalists!
Purchase Perfect Pour tickets by March 9 here.

1: When did you fall in love with bartending as a profession?

  I’m honestly fairly new to the bartending industry. I started out roughly two years ago in a position that was focused on craft beer, but as I started making more drinks and delving into the world of craft cocktails I fell in love immediately. This industry is such a wonderful creative outlet. I’m lucky to have a job that caters to both my love of art and getting to connect with people in a special way. That “wow” look when a customer gets the perfect drink to suit their tastes or is surprised with fun new flavors is what I live for.

2: If you could be drinking Avión Tequila anywhere in the world, where would you be, how would you be drinking it, and with whom?

    There are so many people in my life that I would love to enjoy a glass of Avion with but I think the best way to experience it would be in Jalisco, sampling the spirits fresh from the barrel with the people responsible for all the hard work and passion that goes into their tequilas. Sharing a drink with the jimadores and distillers would be such an awesome way to grow my knowledge and connect with every aspect of the industry.

3: What excites you most about your cocktail for Perfect Pour?

    I’m really proud of this cocktail because every ingredient was specially tailored to pair with the Avion Anejo to convey the flavors and feelings I wanted to represent. I really feel like this drink represents the best thing I can bring to the table right now and really showcases all the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired thanks to my amazing mentors and peers. I’m just really grateful for the chance to share my passion with the public!

4: Tell us your favorite bar joke/pun/response:

    Oh man… I love a good pun. Here’s a dad joke for your reading pleasure. “I went to a haunted bar the other day. They had a lot of spirits.” (ba dum tss)

5: If you could choose a profession second to bartending/hospitality, what would it be?

    Funny story; bartending actually is my second profession. I left behind a nearly decade long career in Retail Management to pursue something that truly makes me happy. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now.

6: How would you describe Avión Añejo to a customer who’s never had tequila before?

    Avion Anejo gets its greatness from the warm vanilla and rich oaky tones and its wonderfully smooth finish. Even if you aren’t typically a tequila drinker I highly recommend trying a few sips of this one, I think you’ll grow to love it!

7: What’s the strangest food or cocktail experience you’ve ever had? Would you wish it upon anyone else?

        Fernet Branca is widely known as the “Industry Handshake” because of its popularity among bartenders. However, the very first time I tasted this classic amaro the individual serving me prefaced it with this description: “It’s like your grandfather’s cologne mixed with Colgate toothpaste”  Now I can’t get that description out of my head for the life of me, and I’m personally not fan. I do think everyone should try it at least once in their life though.

8: Bartenders are the best brand ambassadors for their local industry! In your opinion, what makes the cocktail scene in Omaha special?

The Omaha cocktail scene is great because there are so many creative people who are always looking to elevate their craft and help each other learn. There’s definitely quite a bit of friendly competition in the scene but I think it’s awesome because you never know what someone will come up with next. I just hope we can all keep growing together!

Purchase Perfect Pour Tickets by March 9 here

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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