The program held its last hurrah of the year on Monday, September 21. For one night only, Vince Toscano of San Francisco’s Rye took over the Upper East Side’s Seamstress, where he shook signature Bacardi cocktails alongside his friend and host, Pam Wiznitzer. The tables were turned that night, as Toscano hosted Wiznitzer at Rye during her Bar Shift last spring, and their friendly chemistry was in full effect.
The story of Toscano’s start in bartending is a straightforward one. As he tells it, he moved to San Francisco for college and worked in a restaurant after graduation. From there, Toscano found his way to Rye by working as a barback, and it was this experience that made him fall in love with the industry. While working his way up the ranks at Rye, he says he was “broken down and built back up” by his bar mentor Jennifer Ackrill, an experience that made him a better bartender. The rest is history.
During his uptown Bar Shift, Toscano served the crowd drinks influenced by his travels. One of his signature hits was A Famous Captain, an ode to Miami’s Broken Shaker, where Toscano was blown away by the great cocktail ingredients. His Bar Shift cocktail was made with a crowd-pleasing combination of Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, cinnamon syrup, lime and pineapple juices and sweet vermouth.
Toscano’s round of cocktails also included the Privateer’s Revenge, made with Bacardi 8 Años Rum, Amaro Montenegro, dry vermouth, Bénédictine and Peychaud’s bitters. Toscano became obsessed with rum-forward cocktails after a trip to New Orleans that inspired his own style of rum cocktails back at Rye. Bar Shift guests also fell hard for Toscano’s #FATE, which stands for “From Angel to Ellis.” The tempting blend of Bacardi 8 Años Rum, Cynar, Angostura and orange bitters was symbolic of Toscano’s love of New York and how he always imagined his career would lead him there from San Francisco.
Didn’t make it out to a Bar Shift near you this year? Don’t worry, you can always take a look back at the program’s greatest hits, from Miami to Chicago to Mexico and relive the magic.