Interview with Colorado Rising Star Austin Carson of Mizuna

by Sean Kenniff
April 2017

Sean Kenniff: How did you get your start?
Austin Carson:
I started in restaurants during college, bussing 12 or 13 years ago. I studied philosophy and graduated in 2006. My first gig in Colorado was in wine, at the Omni Hotel in Broomfield. I left and moved to Houston, but I missed Colorado and came back. I started [at Mizuna] in April 2012.

SK: What’s your five-year plan?
AC: I want to make Mizuna one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. I have an obsession with the Top 50.

SK: What’s the most underrated cocktail ingredient?
AC: So, my most underrated also happens to be my most overrated. Ice. I’m growing more and more uncomfortable with the amount of water we (bartenders) use, which engenders a sort of appreciation for the right types of ice used in the most efficient ways.

SK: What’s a cocktail trend you would most like to see
AC: In keeping with the previous answer, more pre-dilution and chilling, making cocktails by weight, and creative use of generally discarded ingredients and waste; citrus juices in particular

SK: Is there a city whose cocktail culture you’d most like to explore?
AC: Generally this goes hand-in-hand with food cultures I want to explore, which, here in the States would be Atlanta, and Nashville as well; internationally, Mexico City and Lima.

SK: Have you competed in any bartending competitions? 
AC: Relative to my peer’s I haven’t done a whole lot of competing. I was fortunate enough to compete in the national final of the Woodford Manhattan Experience last year. I’ve done Most Imaginative a few times, and I’m competing in the regional finals of the Diageo World Class coming up.