Little Bites: Bartender wins big; Downtown Restaurant Week underway

A hearty “Mealaibh ur naidheachd” — “congratulations” in Scottish Gaelic — are in order to Kimber Weissert, bar manager and bartender at Downtown’s Butcher & The Rye. She is one of 12 bartenders worldwide selected by Auchentoshan Scotch whiskey to travel to Glasgow in September to collaborate with Auchentoshan’s distillers to develop a limited release Bartender’s Malt edition of the Scotch for 2018.

This will be the second batch of Auchentoshan’s Bartender’s Malt. The first was released last month. Ms. Weissert’s name and signature, along with those other 11 bartenders, will be on the product’s bottle.

Winners were announced at the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention held two weeks ago in New Orleans. She competed against 12 bartenders in a cocktail competition using the spirit from a nationwide pool of submissions made on Instagram; four were chosen to represent the United States next month, the other eight are from Europe and Asia. Her winning cocktail, the Auchie Aloha Palaoa, combined corn and Tiki tradition to dazzling effect (palaoa is Hawaiian for corn).

“For some reason I had corn on the brain,” Ms. Weissert said. “One of my favorite things in the summer is fresh corn from local farms, and I wanted to think outside the box.”

She certainly did. Part of the contest included a sustainability challenge to use all the parts of one ingredient. So with ears of corn, she made corn milk, a corn cob syrup and a corn silk tincture. That was combined with Auchentoshan’s American Oak single malt, an allspice dram, tiki bitters and lime juice. In addition, she used roasted corn silk and kernels in a hollowed out lime shell as a garnish.

Alison Hillard of Meat & Potatoes Downtown and the Independent Brewing Company in Squirrel Hill also competed at the event.

This is not Ms. Weissert’s first big showing in national competitions. Last year she was one of six national finalists at the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience competition in New York City. Along with Ariel Scalise of Smallman Galley, she also had a recipe for a Moscow mule featured in a book about the history of that iconic copper-mugged drink.

Also on the restaurant scene 

Downtown Restaurant Week is underway through Friday, with 30 restaurants including some of Pittsburgh’s most popular offering a three-course fixed price dinner menu. Restaurants throughout the Golden Triangle will offer an appetizer, entrée and dessert for prices ranging from $20 to $35.17. For a full list of participating restaurants and menus, visit the event website:

• Subscriptions to 412 Food Rescue’s Ugly CSA 2017 12 weeks of “ugly” produce from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, local bread and special products each week from local vendors will begin Aug. 9 and run each Wednesday through Oct. 25. The cost is $240, plus a $10 processing fee. Pickup neighborhoods: North Side, Sharpsburg, Greenfield and East Liberty. For more information or to sign up visit

Barsotti Wines in the Strip District will host a tasting titled “Same Grape — Different Region” at 6 p.m. Aug. 14, which will compare six wines, including three pairs of regionally distinct productions of three different grape varietals. Among the comparisons: Italian vs. Californian Chardonnay; Argentinian vs. French Cabernet Franc; and Spanish vs. Italian Grenache. Light refreshments will be served. $30 per person. For information and to RSVP, email:



Hot Topic