As Westword's Ask the Bartender columnist, I've talked with many bartenders for Cafe Society's "Behind the Bar" series, posing numerous questions to Denver's top bartenders...and often receiving the same answers: "I love chartreuse," or "I'm really into smoked cocktails/barrel aging/bottled cocktails."
Some time ago, a Facebook friend posted 25 things about himself that most people weren't aware of -- and then he tagged me in the post, at which point I was supposed to do the same: rattle off 25 little-known facts about myself and ask someone else to follow suit. Instead, I'm asking Denver's bartenders to get up and close with Westword readers and share 25 lesser known tidbits about themselves -- and then name the next bartender that I should interview.
This week, we hear from Breckenridge-Wynkoop beverage manager Ken Kodys, who isn't just an incredible bartender; he's easily one of the most genuine figures in the business, too. He's one of only twelve bartenders in the United States to have won the Cocktail World Cup in New Zealand (not to mention many other competitions), and he runs beverage operations at thirteen units for Breckenridge-Wynkoop. He's clearly successful and accomplished, but more important, he's humble.
In the revelations below, Kodys admits that he once climbed atop a dessert, punched a guy in the face and spent spent time in witness protection.
1. I met Noelle, my wife, when a landlord screwed up our lease agreement and she tried to move into my apartment a day before I was supposed to move out!
2. I once was in witness protection for a week.
3. I bought my first motorcycle yesterday, a Honda Scrambler. I want to own a Triumph Scrambler in the next eighteen months.
4. Noelle and I are planning a trip to Ireland for our belated honeymoon.
5. I have my dream job(s).
6. I miss my parents all of the time, and my love for Colorado is a tough divider.
7. Noelle proposed to me in a mall in Missouri as a joke. She gave me a skull ring that I still wear occasionally.
8. Technically I married into the Seminole tribe as they are a matrilineal tribe.
9. Although I work around beer, alcohol and wine, I rarely drink.
10. I am not as much of a foodie as many people in my industry. I like simple foods and very American dishes.
11. I'm six-foot-six and three quarters and have never felt comfortable calling myself six-foot-seven, but my wife and mother both round up.
12. In my twenties, I was the largest rock climber that I know, and it was the most challenging/rewarding physical adventure that I had ever taken on. I once climbed a nearly six-foot desert tower named Ancient Art and it was amazing.
13. I'm not aggressive at all and never fight, but I once broke someone's facial orbital bone with a punch, which I instantly regretted.
14. I got married in Key West and could not have imagined a better week. it was the best week of my life.
15. I wrote a list of my life's goals when I was fifteen, and I've achieved most all of them, including becoming a bartender, writing a novel, playing in a March Madness college basketball game and owning a camper van. Either I had low expectations or I have great follow through. The one thing on the list I haven't accomplished is driving my camper van on an Oregon Beach. That's coming.
16. I own two guitars and two cigar box guitars, I don't play in front of people, but it's such an amazing release when I'm on my own. My dream is to write some original songs and some day perform them.
17. I have a sweet tooth, and two gold teeth.
18. I wish I was closer to my younger brother and can't wait to see him travel through life.
19. I have seven tattoos (I got my first one when I was fourteen) and more than 75 hours of ink work, which means I've dedicated over three days of my life in the past seventeen years to body art.
20. I want to climb all of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountain. I've climbed seventeen so far, giving me only 27 more to go, but a few of them scare me.
21. I have bungied off of the largest bungee in the Southern Hemisphere.
22. I once got one of those oversize checks in the amount of $1,000 after winning a cocktail competition. It was funny and cool.
23. I had two best men in my wedding, and they're polar opposites of one another. I set them up as roommates and it was horrible, but years later, they became great friends.
24. I am a blues music junky, love classic rock and after a recent trip to Nashville, I now really enjoy country music, especially the old stuff and good, new country.
25. I have friends in low places.
P.S. Kodys would like to know more about Brian Smith of the Squeaky Bean.
Missed one of my interviews with a Denver bartender? Read the rest of them below. - 25 things you never knew about Kade Gianetti, bartender at Linger - 25 things you never knew about Melissa Durant, bartender at Acorn - 25 things you never knew about Steuben's bartender Ryan Layman - 25 things you never knew about Chad Michael George, bartender at Williams & Graham
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.