Before launching the industry’s newest, loudest, and most sociopolitically-focused conference, Chicago Style co-founder Caitlin Laman lived many lives. The only person to have won both Speed Rack and Bar Fight (among other things), Laman initially found herself behind the bar as a side hustle while playing for the top women’s rugby club in New York. Ultimately, it was bar life that won her heart. After stints at San Francisco’s Trick Dog and Mexico City’s Limantour, Laman settled down in Chicago. She now serves as both the Ace Hotel’s beverage director and a co-founder of Chicago Style.
When she’s not busy kicking ass and taking names with basically every industry honor in existence — accolades include Tales of the Cocktail’s Best Bar Team , James Beard finalist nomination for Outstanding Bar Program  , and two consecutive years on Drinks International’s “World’s 50 Best Bars” list [No. 33 in 2014, No. 40 in 2015] — she can be found cruising around on a unicycle, polishing her Spanish, or sipping some really old amontillado.
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
A bottle of amontillado sherry.
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2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
Most likely an Old Fashioned.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
Fuck Negroni, marry Manhattan, kill Margarita.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
A pour of a mezcal I have never had before from a distant town I have never even heard of in Mexico.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
Best is Bodegas Tradición 30 year amontillado. Worst, I already drank it.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
Never say never.