When Elliott Clark started his Instagram account Apartment Bartender in 2015, it was really to explore a personal passion for making great drinks (and then photographing them) at home. Today, he has nearly 75,000 followers, his in-depth cocktail content and high-level approach to crafting cocktails have made Apartment Bartender more than just a social media handle – Elliott has become a prominent name in the drinks industry.
“The world of cocktails can be daunting,” he says, “for the home enthusiast. You love a drink out at a bar, but if you tried to make it at home, it would take all day and cost you $250. For me, the aim has always been to make a great drink, in your own home, but staying really approachable and educational.”
When he began it, he was in Phoenix, but now resides in Denver, and Apartment Bartender has taken the online home and professional cocktail communities by storm. It’s no wonder. The photography is stunning––inciting both FOMO and thirst––and the journalism backs it up, giving readers great advice on upping your home mixology game and brands to seek out and sip.
Apartment Bartender has now become Clark’s full-time job, and Saveur magazine named it the Best Drink Blog of 2017. He has twice judged the Diageo World Class competition, and his Instagram feed was a top pick for drinks coverage on Buzzfeed.
“It was around 2017 when I first attended Tales of the Cocktail,” he recalls. “I hadn’t been to New Orleans. I hadn’t been to New Orleans in the summer, and I went just to sort of check it out. But, then I realized that this drinks industry is a much larger thing. That was my first time understanding the magnitude of the community and seeing the industry in this way.”
Since that year, Clark has become a beloved part of the industry, traveling the world in the name of great drinks and great drink events, from Scotland to Singapore. His biggest takeaway has been personal connections, like the friendship and working relationship he struck up with Annie Taplin, Director of Communications for William Grant & Sons. The two have worked on multiple events, from bartending gigs in Brooklyn to adventures with Reyka Vodka in Iceland. At past Tales festivals, he’s helped host Earn Your Booze fitness events, has spoken on panels and has worked with brands like Hilton.
“For me, going to Tales was validation that I could do this full-time. That I could be seen and respected in this capacity, and that was so rewarding,” he says.
A rewarding drink for him?
“Absolutely the Gin & Tonic,” he laughs.
“I love the approachability of it. You can make a number of different versions and you don’t need a lot of ingredients, but you do need a quality mixer. Q Mixers is a staple I think you need at home, easily on-hand. These guys have done an amazing job.”
“When making a great G&T, I like to find a prominent botanical in a premium gin and then just match the garnish to that,” he says. “If you have a friend over, and you want to talk, it’s a beautiful, quick drink, that’s easy but so complex.”
When pressed with the question, “If you were a drink, what would you be?” Clark answers:
“Definitely an Old Fashioned with Cognac. I lean into the classics. I’d want to be something approachable, but with depth.”
Q Mixers and Tales of the Cocktail Foundation present, Meet at Tales––a program going behind the scenes with eight industry leaders, delving into their best times at Tales of the Cocktail®––raising a virtual toast to the people, places and drinks that have shaped their careers.
After several challenging years, Meet at Tales is a chance for our Industry Leaders to give advice and mentorship to those rising up. Six lucky Tales of the Cocktail 2021 registrants will be selected to Meet at Tales for a 15-minute conversation and will receive a custom cocktail kit developed by the Q MIXERS Industry Leader they are paired with. Following Tales, each Industry Leader will select one individual for a one-hour follow-up conversation.
We could think of no better partnership for this project than Q Mixers––a brand whose entire mission is to make truly spectacular mixers. Additionally, during this year’s conference taking place in a hybrid format September 20-23, Q Mixers will host 4 Mix at Tales Happy Hour events ––each of which pair up 2 industry leaders to host a happy hour to field fun and pertinent questions, brainstorm, and have a few drinks of course.
Already registered? Add Elliott’s Mix at Tales Happy Hour event to your Tales of the Cocktail 2021 agenda taking place digitally on September 20th at 4:00 PM CST.