Meet Zev Glesta!
Zev is part of the Chilled 100 in New York. He was born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Sydney, Australia until his family moved back to their homeland. He moved to Montreal to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. He found a love for cooking in Canada which resulted in him attending the Culinary Institute of America, where he received his bachelor’s degree.
Zev currently resides in the big city, where he was worked at The Modern for the past four years. He is extremely proud of the time he has worked there. Adding, “The bar team at The Modern are some of the most supportive and creative people I have had the pleasure of working with.
What’s your go-to cocktail?
My go-to cocktail: Daiquiri. Nothing beats a cold, linear, and bright daiquiri. High acid, low sugar–wishing I was enjoying one at a bar right now!
What are your favorite cocktail trends?
My favorite trend: molecular gastronomy. This was something I learned a lot about during my time in Melbourne. The science behind syrups, Brix, aroma, distillation, etc., and the ability to modify elements to achieve a different cocktail experience has heavily influenced how I see bartending. At Dinner by Heston we had a rotary evaporator (something that is used in medicine) that we used to distill rocks and then created a mineral-driven vodka that represented the Barossa Valley.
Do you have any unique skills/what separates you from other bartenders?
A huge skill and hobby of mine is foraging. This was something I picked up during my time at the CIA in upstate New York. I first started doing it when I found out I could sell these delicacies for money at the local restaurant and to the CIA itself, but the more I studied and went to seminars, this has become a huge part of my life. I often use these foraged goods (mushrooms, fruits, herbs, etc.) in my cocktails and food which has led to a deeper product knowledge and learning how and what to use around me.
What cocktail ingredient can you not live without? What ingredient is overrated?
My favorite cocktail ingredient: aromatic bitters. I like to think of bitters as the “salt and pepper” of cocktails. A dash or two adds depth, length and can round out any cocktail.
An overrated cocktail ingredient: flavored liquors. I think there are so many books, websites, podcasts, Instagram accounts out there that can teach you how to infuse liquor yourself. This gives you the exact control over your overall product, and the ability to create some unique and delicious things!
What’s one piece of advice you could have given yourself when you first started as a bartender?
One piece of advice: taste everything! Build your index of flavors. Learn the difference between acidities, different levels of sweet, textures, etc.
Follow Zev on Instagram at @RaisezBar