Sit down and mix it up with gay Atlanta mixologist Chris Glass

With a last name like his, you could say Chris Glass was born to be a mixologist. The 31-year-old Delaware native moved to Atlanta from Philadelphia three years ago looking for new opportunities, and he has found them, working various events through local catering companies and making a name for himself across the city with his various signature drinks.

The openly gay certified mixologist talks about the difference between him and a bartender, his most popular concoctions and his grand plans for the future.

How did you get involved in mixology?

I’ve always had a fascination with drinks. It took about three or four weeks to get my certification. It’s weird because right after I got certified, even though I got a B+ in the class, I was kind of afraid to go out there and start working as a mixologist. Last year I had the opportunity to do events, parties and weddings and that was actually the first time that I took out the time to actually do it.

In your opinion, what’s the difference between a mixologist and a bartender?

Me personally, I like to take different liquors and mix them together and take liqueurs and start mixing. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to name them, I just go with what I know that tastes good. I come up with the title of my signature drink at the end and keep track of what I added into it and how much.

A bartender is somebody who you can go to at a wedding or whatever and pour you a drink. A mixologist takes the time to mix and experiment with different liquors and liqueurs and comes up with the title at the end.

What do you like about being a mixologist?

I like interacting with different people. Before, it was a fear of mine but now being a mixologist and talking to different people and having them taste what I made, there’s no better feeling in the world. I like to see people smile. I like to hear positive things about my drinks. I like to see people happy that they’re tasting something I made for them.

Usually when I get booked for events, the client asks me to create a signature drink that corresponds to what type of event it is. Knowing I created something just for them gives me joy.

What are your most popular concoctions?

There’s this one drink I call the grilled pineapple amaretto sour. That’s one of my favorite cocktails that I’ve made. Another one is a strawberry lemon drop.

Some other things that set me apart from everybody else is that everyone knows a Chris Glass cocktail when they look at it. Just how I use my garnish, like not everybody uses rock candy as a garnish, and how I stack it whether I’m doing rock candy or Jolly Ranchers. Or if I’m doing an apple martini, I’ll cascade it upwards. I just love to experiment with different candies and other things.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to start my own LLC and by next year have my own brand where I’m going out and catering different weddings and events and affairs under my name.

Grilled Pineapple and Strawberry Sour Martini

1 pineapple
1 package fresh strawberries
1 ounce Disaronno (amaretto)
1/2 ounce Malibu Rum
1/2 ounce sweet and sour mix
1/2 ounce Peach schnapps
1/2 ounce Sour Apple pucker plus a splash of grenadine syrup and pineapple juice
Caramel syrup or honey
Red and green sugar crystals

1. Grill fresh pineapple slices and fresh sliced strawberries (set some strawberries aside for garnish later) on a grilling platform (e.g. a George Foreman grill) for approximately 5–7 minutes on low.

2. Take the grilled fruit and muddle in a tall cocktail mixer or any other sturdy cup.

3. Add the Disaronno, rum, sweet and sour mix, schnapps, and sour apple pucker/grenadine/pineapple mixture to the cup with the muddled fruits.

4. Add ice on top for chill. Mix well.

4. With the empty martini glass, rim with caramel syrup (preferred choice for the Christmas season) or honey. Gently sprinkle red and green sugar crystals around the rim of the glass. Half red/half green around the glass.

5. Strain mixed ingredients into decorative martini glass.

6. Garnish with cascading fresh strawberry slices.