New York, NY
St. Louis native Shannon Ponche jumped behind the bar as soon as she was able. Ponche learned the mixology trade under renowned St. Louis bartender Ted Kilgore at Taste. After her time at Taste, Ponche made the move to New York City and has continued to surround herself with the cream of the crop in the business. Ponche took home the top prize at the 2013 Speed Rack bartending competition. It was at this event that she caught the eye of mixologist Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge and Reiner’s longtime protégée, Ivy Mix. Reiner and Mix hired Ponche at Clover Club soon after, and when they opened the pan-Latin bar and restaurant Leyenda in Brooklyn in 2015, they brought Ponche on board. This year she was appointed head bartender.