Katie Cruz and the Sunset Swizzle

Photos courtesy Katie Cruz.

Most people know that Katie Cruz is a Las Vegas OG, born and bred, but they may not be aware that she got her start behind the bar in Reno, Nevada, where at Rise Nightclub she learned both about the profession and about the USBG. “The awesome bartenders there took me under their wings and encouraged me to join the Guild. I became really invested in the USBG and my future as a bartender. Although small, the Reno Guild was very close and connected. We were a family; we still are.” After moving back to Vegas, Katie was astounded by the sense of community in our Las Vegas chapter. “There are a lot of things that I love about the Guild, but the community itself has to be my favorite. I feel that we are always trying to better each other,” Katie said. Katie has worked for several industry favorites like Taco’s & Beer and Oak & Ivy, but has now joined forces with Atomic Liquors Downtown. “It has always been my favorite place to drink. It’s still my favorite watering hole, even though I work there.” If Katie isn’t at Atomic, she can be seen at Starboard Tack, Corduroy and Downtown Cocktail Room where she loves sipping on a multitude of Gin Martinis and Hennessy Sazeracs. Since joining the Bartenders’ Guild, she’s had the chance to travel to places like Camp Runamuk, Juniper Harvest and others. About this she revealed, “I’m incredibly grateful for how these experiences have changed me as a person.” Go see her soon! It’s always a good time to enjoy one of her famous beer cocktails served “off the cuff” and get a bite from their new kitchen! 

“We’re here to serve guests; sometimes they happen to want a beverage, but the main focus is on the guest. We’re in the hospitality business. Yeah, I can also whip you up a cocktail, sure, but I’m here to cheer you up if you’ve had a crappy day, listen to your relationship problems, celebrate your accomplishments and make this experience at my bar your favorite of the day.” 

-Katie Cruz

Photos courtesy Emily Carson.

Sunset Swizzle By Katie Cruz

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve

.5 oz lemon juice

.25 oz Campari

.5 oz Grand Marnier

2 dashes of Angostura Orange

Combine ingredients in mixing tin with ice, shake, and strain over crushed ice in a Collins glass. Top with Joseph James Citra Rye. Swizzle and garnish with a thyme sprig.

 New Member Spotlight: Emily Carson 

Meet Emily Carson! She is a recent member of the Guild but has lived in our community for over 9 years. After making the move from Boston, Emily landed her first gig at Palms Place pool. From there, she has worked in various lounges and restaurant bars, the pinnacle being at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago where upper level service & continuous learning are staunchly upheld. After hearing that Buddy V’s was to open in The Venetian, she decided to make the move there and has had some great success. You can still find Emily there and now she has worked her way up to Beverage Manager. When not working, she loves to visit her bartender friends at Sugarcane in The Venetian. Emily has found that even at a rum-heavy bar like Sugarcane, they can also mix up excellent tequila cocktails. Emily feels at home here in Las Vegas and part of the reason is because of our chapter of the USBG. One of the main reasons that she moved to Vegas was, “to work with talented bartenders.” She continued, “Being so far from home the Guild made me feel like I have family here.” 

If you are in The Venetian, stop by and try one of her “Brown Sugar” cocktails!


1.5 oz Woodford Double Oaked Bourbon 

.5 oz Amaretto spiced syrup 

.5 oz lemon juice 

Combine ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake vigorously. 

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an apple ring.

About the USBG

The United States Bartenders’ Guild is comprised of spirit professionals dedicated to the art of the craft of Bartending. What was founded in 1948 has now spread all over the US with Las Vegas being the largest chapter in the country. Through events, charity, and education they support and enhance the great American living-art that is Bartending.

For information on how to join, please go to www.usbg.org.