Rising Star Mixologist Eric Simpkins of The Lawrence - Biography
Growing up outside Atlanta, Eric Simpkins quickly grew to appreciate food and drink, developing an especially avid interest in traditional spirits and antiquarian cocktails. He began his culinary career working as a bar manager at The River Room where he oversaw the wine list and spirits program. In 2005, at age 27, Simpkins moved to New York to attend The French Culinary Institute. While enrolled, he received an opportunity to work with Audrey Saunders at her famous New York cocktail-focused lounge, the Pegu Club.
While refining his skills alongside other notable New York mixologists at Pegu – such as friend and mentor Toby Maloney – Simpkins learned of a growing demand for skilled bartenders in Atlanta, a market whose mixology scene had just begun to grow. Seeing a chance to make an even stronger impact on the industry, he moved to the South in 2006 to become head mixologist at TROIS, where his menu of 20-odd cocktails was creatively subheaded – “modern mixes,” “vintage quaffs,” “Champagne opportunities,” and so on.
He left TROIS in 2009 for a position as bar director under Sasha Petraske at Drinkshop. He then opened a consulting company Ease Libations. In 2011, Simpkins took a position with 2012 Atlanta Rising Star Shane Deveruex, creating drinks for The Lawrence.