Liz Pearce

Liz Pearce

Lead Mixologist at Aba Restaurant, Lettuce Entertain You

I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and went to Minnesota State University Moorhead right across the river. Bartended my way through college at some terrible but awesome sports bars and dive bars, notably one of them  called the Empire. It is notorious for being pretty rough and gross, but it is SO MUCH FUN. I spent 6 years there, and it’s where I learned a lot about working efficiently, cleanly, but not necessarily where I got my fine dining polish. 

I moved to Chicago via a brief season in Minneapolis in 2010, and took a couple of unpleasant jobs before I landed at the Aviary right after they opened. It was brutally cut throat and super intense, but changed my life. I got really into cocktails, and from there went on to apprentice at The Drawing Room under Charles Joly and Cristiana DeLucca. This time completely shaped the bartender I am now. I spent some time at the Purple Pig during this period so I could hone my wine skills, and eventually got tapped to open a speakeasy inside the Green Door Tavern, a super iconic bar that’s been named the oldest bar in Chicago.  We opened the speakeasy (called The Drifter, and voted one of the best bars in Chicago!) in 2016. I remain as a managing partner, but I pretty much let the people there run it as they like. 

I left to pursue some consulting projects, namely the newly reopened Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and to act as a beverage director for Bonhomme Hospitality for the opening of Beatnik. Finally, in 2018, I landed with my most recent home at Aba and Lettuce Entertain You, where I am the Lead Bartender doing menu creation for the Jacobs Division, creating menus for the Beatrix line, Aba, Aba Austin, Ema, and Bar Ramone. 

In addition to all of this, I have been the Chicago area brand ambassador for Chareau since 2014, I’ve been a regional Speed Rack winner twice, Bombay Sapphires Most Imaginative Bartender, got 2nd place in both the Luxardo Cup and GVine Gin Institute competitions, and have won many local competitions. I have been nominated for a Jean Banchet award twice, but alas, have yet to win. The Drifter has been on the Tales of the Cocktail Awards nominations for World's Best Cocktail Menu twice. 

In my free time, I enjoy walking my 4 dogs (4 is too many btw), doing yardwork and gardening, cooking, and reading.