“Each year I publish a book called gaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders, and within that book I shout out around 20 bartenders who I think deserve recognition for various reasons,” explains Gary Regan, aka gaz regan. “It’s seldom that I pick these bartenders for their cocktail making skills, though pretty much all of them shine well in that department, but I usually pick these people for other achievements within the industry.”
When the book is published, the event known as The Gazzers is hosted, where the honorees from the book are presented with a gaz regan bobblehead.
Regan is the cocktail columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, and the author of The Bartender’s Bible, the bartender’s GIN compendium, the Annual Manual for Bartenders and the Joy of Mixology. He also manages the Worldwide Bartender Database.
Within the book, Regan explains why he chose each bartender – here’s what he wrote about Dehlavi:
I first met Cris Dehlavi on-line when she submitted a recipe for consideration in the 2011 batch of 101 Best New Cocktails. Her drink, Marquee, made it through to the finals and it was included in last year’s Annual Manual for Bartenders.
Cris and I then exchanged a few emails, and we finally met at Tales of the Cocktail last July. She was an apprentice (it was the second year that she had toiled for the good of other bartenders there), and she was in the room when I gave a short talk to a bunch of similar-minded young souls. Then we met on stage at the annual Awards Show at Tales, but we never did have an actual conversation.
Why, then, did I select Cris Dehlavi to be a recipient of a Fabulous Bartender Award this year? Because, according to more than a few very trusted sources, it was Cris who single-handedly got the cocktail scene in Columbus off the ground. And that takes some doing.
I’m quite sure that Cris herself would never make that claim, and I’m also pretty certain that there have been lots of other bartenders in Columbus who have helped get the bartender scene going there, but Cris has been at the helm of the movement according to everyone I’ve spoken to about her accomplishments.
“I think it’s incredible,” said Dehlavi. “I mean obviously I am not the only bartender in this city, but I have definitely worked very hard over the last three years to be the leading force in fresh, quality cocktails… Bartending is so much hospitality, too – which is what I focus on every day. Building relationships.”
She hopes the honor will help bring some national attention to Columbus’ cocktail community.
“For Columbus it is HUGE,” said Dehlavi. “The last two years I have been chosen to be an apprentice at Tales of the Cocktail and I am always sad to see that people in NYC, LA, San Fran, Chicago, etc., don’t realize what a cool scene we have here in Columbus. We need to be recognized much more!”
You can find Dehlavi crafting cocktails at M Restaurant and Bar. She’s also the brand mixologist for Middle West Spirits.
“I am going to keep on keeping on doing what I love,” she added.
Her gaz regan bobblehead is currently on display proudly in her living room.