Mixologist Benjamin Schiller of Boka - Biography

Chicago, IL

January 2011

Since the age of 12, Benjamin Schiller's been in restaurants. He’s gone from busboy to server to ad-hoc sommelier to mixologist (although for Ben, just 'bartender' will do, thanks). He's amassed a store of knowledge and experience along the way. And he's won a slew of mixology awards as a result of his background, passion, and talent for hospitality combined. As head bartender for the BOKA group (at the age of 29), he was named Bartender of the Year by Eater.com, and finished first in a mixology competition hosted by Bon Appétit.

After his arrival to Chicago in 2001, Schiller became part of the opening team at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago where he learned wine, beverage, and service standards under the tutelage of its 5-star, 5-diamond personnel. He moved on to manage a nightclub on Rush Street, and later paired wine as a practicing sommelier at a few Chicago wine bars. Schiller, already immersed in the culture but wanting to dive even deeper, became a panelist for the Beverage Testing Institute and the head mixologist at In Fine Spirits.

Today, Schiller continues to hone his signature style: a progressive, even daring, and exciting take on the classics with seasonal and house-made ingredients. His mission to have a more personal relationship with the origins of the products behind his bar has garnered attention from several publications, including Time Out Chicago, ABC News, The New York Times, Eater.com, Grubstreet, The Chicagoist, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader.

Schiller is in charge of the spirits programs at BOKA, Perennial, Landmark, The Girl and the Goat, and soon to be opened, GT Fish and Oyster.