Best Bartenders in the Country… Portland, Chicago, New York, Somerville?

When the National Restaurant Association invited professional mixologists to show off their most creative cocktail talents to vie for the sought-after title of “Star of the Bar,” head barman, N.Bryan Mack of Verve Restaurant, decided to make a last minute entry. Entry rules were simple; submit a video showing off a creative cocktail using Casamigo Tequila.

Filmed at the last minute by Unity Cinematic of Somerville, the video features Mack pouring up a “Carlos Slim” which is a variation of the Classic Billionaire Cocktail. Named after one of the wealthiest men in South America, the cocktail is made with Casamigos Reposada, Clove infused Port, fresh lemon juice, and homemade Grenadine. Mack never expected that in a few short weeks, he would be heading to Chicago to compete as one of the six semi-finalists.

“Listen,” Mack said, “I make cocktails. I go in early every day. I do my best, try to be relevant and try to make my guests have an experience they will remember. Those of you that have sat at my bar know that this is a labor of love. I am humbled to be competing against the caliber of professionals at the National Restaurant Association. My 12 stool bar got to the finals. Wish us luck.”

The competition, which features a $5,000 cash prize, will take place at the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB) at NRA Show 2014 with the winner being selected at the Restaurants Rock party on Sunday, May 18 with special guest judges, master mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff.

Verve, a New Jersey landmark, is an old school bistro, with a colorful history. A former speakeasy, Verve was the spot where the very first drink was served after Prohibition in Somerville, New Jersey.

Mack isn’t the only one smiling. Verve proprietor, Rick St.Pierre, is thrilled for both Mack and the town of Somerville. St. Pierre is a vocal advocate and active volunteer on the Board of Trustees for the Downtown Somerville Alliance. “Bartenders from every big city across the nation entered this contest, “ St. Pierre said, “It’s just incredible to see Somerville, a Main Street town, get national recognition. For those in the know, maybe Somerville is the center of the universe. ”

Verve is located at 18 East Main Street in downtown Somerville, New Jersey. The three story restaurant features French-American fine dining, an extensive wine cellar, and yes, the much loved master mixologist Mack.

To view the “Carlos Slim” video, or for more information about Verve, visit


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