Cocktails & Spirits

Bar Lab's Christine Wiseman Wins Bartender Award by North America's 50 Best Bars

Christine Wiseman
Christine Wiseman Hanna Lee Communications photo
Bar Lab Hospitality's global beverage director, Christine Wiseman, has just been given one of her field's most prestigious peer-reviewed awards.

Wiseman was named the Altos Bartenders' Bartender Award winner by North America's 50 Best Bars, which lists the best drinking establishments from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada.

The head bartenders from each bar listed in North America's 50 Best Bars vote for this annual distinction. Each bartender is asked to name one peer who "pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a great bartender."

In a statement, Mark Sansom, content director for 50 Best, called Wiseman a "bartending force of nature whose exuberant cocktails electrify her legions of fans across the U.S. and beyond."

Wiseman, who will celebrate her second anniversary with Bar Lab in June, is responsible for the cocktail programs at Miami favorites such as the Arlo Wynwood, Margot Natural Wine Bar, Broken Shaker, Hoja Taqueria, and the soon-to-open Jolene. In addition, Bar Lab operates Broken Shakers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. When asked about her process in creating cocktails for so many different venues, Wiseman says many factors are considered. "We create different styles and spaces. At Bar Lab, it's about cocktails, but it's also about music, lighting, and ambiance."

The beverage director says she also considers the climate and style of the different cities where she works. "I read the room in each city. Miami, for example, is very different than Chicago. In Miami, you don't want a boozy, stirred cocktail in the summer, but during Chicago winters, everyone drinks stirred cocktails. In New York, there's more diversity, so if you put an obscure item on the menu, people may know it." Wiseman says Miami's cocktail scene is growing. "People understand a well-made cocktail here and appreciate the difference between a super sugary mojito, for example, and one made with fresh ingredients and mint."

When asked how she juggles multiple bars, Wiseman says she tries to find a balance. "My days start early and sometimes end late, but I try to make time to cook myself dinner or walk on the beach. I try to also take care of myself mentally as well. I think that's what truly keeps me going." She also gives credit to a supportive work family. "I love Gabe [Orta] and Elad [Zvi] and all of our staff. When I got word of this award, I received millions of messages from everyone."

Wiseman says the Bartender's Bartender Award has special meaning because it's peer-reviewed. "This is the only peer-voted award in 50 Best. It's been an emotional rollercoaster. I've done a lot of self-reflection in being able to accept the recognition gracefully and not shy away from it because it is a wonderful award."

Wiseman will receive the award at a live awards ceremony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, on May 4 during the North America's 50 Best Bars 2023 announcement ceremony. Wiseman says she anticipates accepting the award before her fellow bartender professionals. "There are so many wonderful people in this profession. This is another really great moment and another layer of growing and achieving my higher self and the best version of myself. And that's why, I think, I won this award. By being true and authentic and allowing people to mentor me."
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

Latest Stories