It's been 18 months since Kent Westmoreland gave up a plush bank consultant gig to become a bartender. On July 15, he'll be among the city's premier bartenders slinging drinks at State of the Art, a MOTAC fundraiser.
He'd been in the corporate world for decades, managing projects and dozens of staff as an IT guru for a global bank. Finally tired of "working as a drone" and missing the banter with bar customers (he'd bartended in college), Kent made the leap.
"I was nervous at every aspect," he says, though it helped to map out specific goals and benchmarks. He met them all.
He took catering and banquet jobs, read everything he could on the classics, and watched others for technique. "You want to develop your own style, though," he says. "You have to believe in what you're doing."
These days, you'll find him behind the stick at Bar UnCommon, a job he came by after volunteering at MOTAC and meeting Laura McMillian.
For his State of the Art drink, Kent chose to make The Argentina, a wet martini (because the vermouth stays in the glass) spiced with Cointreau, Benedictine, orange and Angostura bitters. "It's an established drink, but I want to make it a classic," says Kent.
He uses flowery Hendrick's in The Argentina, though Bombay Sapphire will be the gin of choice at his series of book signings, also next week. The Sapphire and tonic (with a Rose's float) figures in Kent's crime thriller, "Baronne Street", about detective Burleigh Drummond's search for his ex-girlfriend's killer.
Catch Kent and 19 of the city's brightest bartenders at State of the Art, July 15 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier Street. Tickets are $35 and include cocktails and snacks; proceeds benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail.
Kent will be signing copies of "Baronne Street" and making Sapphire and tonics at the Hotel Monteleone on July 18 at 3 p.m., and July 20 at 1 p.m. (inside the Tales bookstore, just off the lobby). Learn more about him here.
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