Best mixologist - 2004
'If you don't care or don't take the job seriously," says AUDREY SAUNDERS, beverage director of Bemelman's Bar, "then you don't belong behind the bar." Serious words from a serious mixer and shaker: On any given night, Saunders, like some mad scientist, tinkers with foams, infusions, and flavor profiles, reworking formulas over and over again until she gets them right. The results? The seasonal cocktail list at Bemelman's Bar, where you'll find classics and originals like Saunders's rarefied Earl Grey MarTEAni, a fine 4 p.m. topper, what with its tea-infused Tanqueray, fresh lemon, and egg-white gloss. The pleasure will cost you nearly 20 bucks all told, but in such fine hands, surrounded by Ludwig Bemelman's whimsical murals, everyone should splurge once.