SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the best bartenders in the nation is right here in New Mexico. After being crowned one of the top 15 in the country, a Santa Fe bartender is competing this weekend to hopefully be crowned the best in the nation and move on to global competition.

If it has to do with a drink, chances are Weston Simons knows it well. “My first job when I was 15 was a soda jerk at a malt shop in Albuquerque,” said Simons. “I’ve been a barista, I’ve been a soda jerk, I’ve been a server, I’ve been a cocktail waiter, I’ve been a busser, a bar back, a line cook, a bartender, head mixologist, like if you name it, I’ve done it.”

He’s now a bartender at Tonic in Santa Fe. “Bartending is kind of this magical place where science meets art in a really fun way,” said Simons. “But you’re also a performer and you get to meet people and interact with people from all around the world. and it’s kind of the great equalizer you know? Everyone is welcome at the bar top.”

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All that pouring into the industry is now paying off. After beating 10,000 entrants, Simons made it through regionals and was named among the 15 top bartenders in the nation in USBG’s World Class Competition Sponsored By Diageo.

“It’s amazing. It’s humbling being around these incredible bartenders but it’s also a really good feeling to be recognized for my own talents as well,” said Simons.

This weekend he’ll travel to Nashville to compete to be the best in the nation, and hopefully move on to the global competition in September. “It’s such an honor to be here. It’s such an honor to be in this competition with all these incredible people,” said Simons. “I’m super grateful for the opportunity to show off myself and my process.”

He hopes to serve the judges like he does his regulars. “There’s something really special when someone takes a sip of that drink and their eyes widen, like wow, this is the best thing I’ve ever had,” said Simons.

People can follow his journey on his Instagram, @westondrinks, or on his website.