It might seem ironic that Texas-born 2008 Rising Star Mixologist Ame Brewster, who found her calling as Bar Manager at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, was raised by a teetotalling mother and a father, who rewarded himself with a weekly beer after mowing the lawn. Until Brewster left home, the closest she came to sampling spirits was the communal wine offered at church on Sundays.
To pay for her schooling at Cornell University, Brewster took a full-time job at a local restaurant and worked her way up to bar manager. After graduation she moved to New York City, where, armed with a political science degree, four years of restaurant experience, and a friend who worked for Mario Batali, she got a job as assistant sommelier at Otto Enoteca. Brewster spent a year studying in Croatia on a Fulbright Scholarship and began to educate herself about wine; at Otto she learned formal wine presentation and service, participated in wine tasting and purchasing, led wine seminars for the staff, and developed a working knowledge of more than 700 Italian wines.
Brewster delved deeper into viticulure at Alto, where she worked as assistant sommelier to Eric Zillier. Zillier helped Brewster hone her presentation while educating her about vineyards, vintages and varietals. After she left Alto, Brewster worked as a wine buyer/manager at Blanc & Rouge, a boutique wine store stocked with an international selection focused on high-end classics and the unusual.
As Café Boulud’s Bar Director, Brewster designs the seasonal cocktail lists, educates the employees, and teaches a weekly class about high-end liquors and cocktails. When it comes to spirits, Brewster’s preference is for the unusual and artisanal, which she approaches with a wine-lover's zeal.