Bartender Jared Boller, on the rocks

Jared Boller has a whole lotta shaking going on.
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When I first talked to Jared Boller for Bite Metwo weeks ago, it was because he was one of the multitude unexpectedly let go by Jim Sullivan during the synchronized closures of Nine75 and Ocean. Then the head bartender at Ocean, Boller had been back from the Cocktail World Cup in New Zealand (where he and his team placed second in the world) all of a week when word came down that his services were no longer required. But while most of the suddenly ex-employees of the Sullivan Restaurant Group took the news hard, Boller showed a surprising amount of equanimity about how things had gone down.

"It employed me," he said at the time. "I'm happy it employed me. And I did what I could."

His plan was to update his resume, talk to some friends, see what kind of work was available and start prepping for the next bartending competition—of which there’s no shortage locally, nationally or internationally. And he quickly found work: behind the bar of the resurrected Nine75. Boller was one of the Sullivan group’s first re-hires after the restaurant was bought by the Jet Entertainment Group. But he didn’t give up on the competition world.

And on Monday, Boller took first place at the Finlandia Vodka Cup regionals -- a win that now sends him on to the U.S. championships in Colorado Springs on November 10, with a shot at representing Denver and the good ol’ U. S. of A. at the world championships to be held…

Wait for it…

\In the Arctic Circle.

In February.

Seriously, that sounds like some kind of weird temperance-movement set-up to subtly dispose of all the world’s best bartenders. But since Finlandia is sponsoring the contest and Finland actually is in the Arctic, I guess it makes sense.

Boller’s three winning drinks (an aperitif, a long-drink and an after-dinner cocktail) were fairly amazing, to be sure. He did a Jasmelon Germain with jasmine simple syrup, St. Germain, honeydew melon syrup, champagne and berry vodka; a ginger fueslo with ginger cordial, sage, sour mix, ginger beer and vodka; and a “Helsinki Coco Mango” with mango-flavored vodka, coconut milk, simple syrup, pureed mango and Navan (a kind of cognac), shaken and poured in a sake cup – which makes my after-dinner drink of two swallows of whiskey taken directly from the bottle, standing up over the sink, seem positively pedestrian by comparison.

So congratulations, Jared, on both the job and the win. But next time, you might be wise to compete in some sort of rum-based competition. Or tequila. Something that won’t require him having his supplies shipped in by sled dog and all his blood replaced with antifreeze. -- Jason Sheehan

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.