Billy Flowers is one of our town’s friendliest bartenders, and he excels at discussing agave varietals while tending a packed bar (hello, Local on a Friday night) and never breaking a sweat. Flowers attributes his quick thinking, multi-tasking, and people skills to years spent traveling the world and guiding people up and down mountains. So, next time you enjoy once of his muddled huckleberry margaritas, be sure to ask him how they make moonshine in Nepal, his favorite variety of Cambodian peppercorn, and what sort of booze to pack when summiting Denali. Turns out the guy behind the bar is a low-key badass.
Billy’s Quick Six
Years Behind the Bar: 10
Spirit Animal: mezcal
Favorite fellow bartender: Brittany Fells at Local
Hangover Cure: SporTea
Go-to Flavor: habanero peppers
Mixologist Mantra: It’s supposed to be fun!
If you weren’t behind the bar, what would you be doing?
I used to work as a mountain guide before I moved to bartending. They are actually quite closely related… when I moved full time into the service industry I realized that what I had done prior was incredibly applicable.
Where in the world did your guide career take you, and what in the world did you drink?
I spent 5 years in southeast Asia, where I drank a ton of beer and ate really spicy food. I always like to drink what the locals drink and what is endemic to that area… in Nepal we drank raksi, which is made from millet because it’s widely available, and everyone makes it differently. Raksi is also the Nepali word for drunk.
Who is your favorite customer?
Harrison Ford! He loves mezcal and leans towards smoky things in general, like single malt scotch. He’s one of my childhood heros, and he calls me by my first name which is just bizarre…I’m still dumbfounded that he knows my name and comes to say hi.
So you and Indiana Jones have the same spirit animal! What do you love so much about mezcal?
Agave based spirits in general are really cool. Some plants take up to 35 years to reach maturity…there’s a story there. From droughts to big seasons, these plants have seen it all. Agave gets me excited because it’s so diverse…they’re not even sure how much of it exists, as far as species goes…they guess around 200, and roughly 30 are used to make mezcal. It’s made in the backwoods, based off of trained palates handed down from generation to generation rather than on exact science.
What differentiates tequila from mezcal?
By definition, any agave based spirit is technically mezcal. Tequila comes from the blue weber agave plant, and has to be from the state of Jalisco. The blue weber plant takes 7-10 years to reach maturity, so it’s a pretty quick turnover, and it can grow in really harsh environments.
What’s the secret to a perfect margarita?
Stick to the basic ingredients: tequila, fresh lime, orange curaçao, agave and ice. Infused tequila is something relatively easy that you can do at home to make a good margarita…we use huckleberries because, unlike other berries, you don’t have to muddle them.