Well, well, readers. You certainly shook up the best bartender category this year! Not a single one of the usual suspects—the Midnight Brothers, Kevin Farney and Pat Carden—made it into the top three. We don't know what to say. And really, for an office full of know-it-alls, we didn't know what to say because we didn't know Mark Allen. So we made a few calls. Turns out Allen does quite a bit of research on alcohol and what mixes well with what. And apparently, he's pretty good at putting that book knowledge into practice because he has two cocktails on Red Feather's drink menu—known for its outstanding selection of eclectic beverages—named after him. The Allen Project is gin, pineapple, lemon juice and fresh ginger; the second is the Markazark made with 12-year-old Elijah Craig bourbon, honey, fresh ginger and lime. Perhaps we've been so wrong about this category in the past—maybe it's really not a popularity contest, but one that reflects the discerning nature of our readers and their capable bartenders.
Second Place: LeighAnn Dufferena at Neurolux
Third Place: Jerry Wexler at Balcony