Tales of the Cocktail: Talking with top bartender Kimberly Patton Bragg

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Tales of the Cocktail is back for its 14th year, bringing industry folks and cocktail enthusiasts together for a whole week of events surrounding the cocktail.

In honor of Tales of the Cocktail, we’d like to introduce you to one of the top 10 female bartenders, not only in New Orleans, but also in the United States. Kimberly Patton Bragg is the general manager and head bartender at Three Muses on Frenchmen Street.

So, who is Kimberly Patton Bragg?

“Oh, God. Southern girl,” she says. “Born in a dry county, go figure. Originally from Florida. That's where I grew up. That's where my family grew up.”

Does she consider herself a bartender or a mixologist? For Bragg, it’s bartender.

“If you want to call me a mixologist, that’s on you and that’s fine,” she says. “A bartender also has to make the drinks and has to tend the bar and has to make sure everybody is safe and having a good time.”

What brought Bragg to New Orleans?

“We came down here on a toss away weekend because we were stressed out,” she recalls. “We almost didn't get on the plane back. Sometimes you have to leave the South to learn you loved it all along. There was no going back to Jacksonville, Florida. Sorry, Mom.”

And what’s her favorite drink?

“I'm still a girl. I know that sounds boring, but I love a good Sazerac,” she says. “I love it with a hefty rye. I prefer it with Rittenhouse. I like really good bonded whiskeys. I fell in love with that drink.”

Where can you find Bragg when she’s not at Three Muses? Well, if she’s not fencing at the New Orleans Athletic Club or cooking and doing crossword puzzles at home, you might find her at the French 75 bar in the French Quarter.

“I love the dichotomy of the craziness of Bourbon Street and then you walk into Arnaud's French 75 and eat and the people are in the white jackets and making beautiful drinks and it's very civilized. Chris Hannah is a great friend of mine. He's the little brother I never wanted. I love visiting him there. He makes a beautiful Sazerac.”

Did you know that Three Muses is opening a second location in Uptown later this summer? But why wait? Head down to the original Three Muses at 536 Frenchmen St. in the Marigny.