Balanced Bartender | Amie Ward with Josh Davis of Brown and Balanced

Balanced Bartender

Stay healthy, Bar Meisters

Amie Ward with Josh Davis of Brown and Balanced

Website:
The Healthtender

Amie Ward, with your Balanced Bartender Pep Talk!

Hello everyone! Welcome to our May Balanced Bartender Pep Talk! This month we travel to the magnificently “Windy City” of Chicago, to chat with my very dear friend, Josh Davis. Josh tells us how he accidentally found his way into the hospitality industry, speaks at length about the critical need for his nonprofit Brown & Balanced, and shares how he is navigating balance after being crowned Bartender of the Year. Enjoy!

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  1. Press Play ▶️ on the Interview! Get to know Josh!
  2. Scroll Down to Make & Indulge in Amie's Snacks & Sips.
  3. Check Out Amie's EXRX For Bartenders

Tell us how you got started in the hospitality industry.

I got into the industry entirely by accident. I was a new father to my oldest child and was kind of spiraling in my personal life. I have a bit of a checkered past, but being a father, I had to make some different decisions in my life and started my career as security in nightclubs here in Chicago. One fateful night I was thrown behind a bar because the venue was short-staffed, and even though I had ZERO knowledge of what I was doing, it sparked something inside of me, and now 17 years later, I'm still here!

What was your motivation for creating Brown & Balanced, and how did you make it come alive?

Brown and Balanced was created out of a necessity for some diversity and inclusion in the industry. I was tenured, and people knew who I was, along with some other Black Bartenders across the country. But at major cocktail events and festivals, and publications, the only people I saw representing bartenders were young white males who fit a specific description. White, suspenders, tattoos, A LOT of gel, and in my neighborhood and the bars and clubs I frequented, no one looked like that. So me being me, I was fortunate enough to be working with LUSH LIFE PRODUCTIONS, and they believed in my crazy idea to travel across the country identifying Black bartending talent and hosting events where they could showcase their talents in front of people, brands, and influencers. The thing about the hospitality industry as a whole is that it was BUILT on the backs of Black people. When we were forcibly brought to America, WE were the bartenders, servers, chefs, hosts, etc., so why were we part of all the features? I took it upon myself to be one of the people who would lead the charge to change things.

How has Brown & Balanced impacted the Chicago bartending community as well as the larger community of Black and Brown bartenders?

Normally I don’t like answering this question because I tend to want to stay humble, and I don’t like talking about myself a lot; but I can say PROUDLY that not just in Chicago, but across the entire country, EVERY Brown and Balanced bartender has moved upward in the industry. They’ve opened bars, became brand reps, and some have even moved across countries to run programs. Some have even gone on to start their own movements similar to Brown and Balanced. In the words of my beautiful sister, “I did that.”


Tell us how you got started in the hospitality industry.

I got into the industry entirely by accident. I was a new father to my oldest child and was kind of spiraling in my personal life. I have a bit of a checkered past, but being a father, I had to make some different decisions in my life and started my career as security in nightclubs here in Chicago. One fateful night I was thrown behind a bar because the venue was short-staffed, and even though I had ZERO knowledge of what I was doing, it sparked something inside of me, and now 17 years later, I'm still here!

What was your motivation for creating Brown & Balanced, and how did you make it come alive?

Brown and Balanced was created out of a necessity for some diversity and inclusion in the industry. I was tenured, and people knew who I was, along with some other Black Bartenders across the country. But at major cocktail events and festivals, and publications, the only people I saw representing bartenders were young white males who fit a specific description. White, suspenders, tattoos, A LOT of gel, and in my neighborhood and the bars and clubs I frequented, no one looked like that. So me being me, I was fortunate enough to be working with LUSH LIFE PRODUCTIONS, and they believed in my crazy idea to travel across the country identifying Black bartending talent and hosting events where they could showcase their talents in front of people, brands, and influencers. The thing about the hospitality industry as a whole is that it was BUILT on the backs of Black people. When we were forcibly brought to America, WE were the bartenders, servers, chefs, hosts, etc., so why were we part of all the features? I took it upon myself to be one of the people who would lead the charge to change things.

How has Brown & Balanced impacted the Chicago bartending community as well as the larger community of Black and Brown bartenders?

Normally I don’t like answering this question because I tend to want to stay humble, and I don’t like talking about myself a lot; but I can say PROUDLY that not just in Chicago, but across the entire country, EVERY Brown and Balanced bartender has moved upward in the industry. They’ve opened bars, became brand reps, and some have even moved across countries to run programs. Some have even gone on to start their own movements similar to Brown and Balanced. In the words of my beautiful sister, “I did that.”


You're a bartender, father, entrepreneur, community leader, and advocate for people of color in our industry and can now add the newly crowned Bartender of the Year to your list of accolades. How have you maintained balance for yourself throughout all of this?

Honestly, with losing seven family members to death in the last year, I have learned how to be very intentional with myself and my time. I actually say no, nowadays (bartenders who actually say no, what a concept… lol), and when it's my personal time, nothing interrupts that. I love this industry and everything it has done for me and my family, but my family and I come first. Through my example, along with others, I hope that younger bartenders understand to take time for themselves because opportunities will always be there. Focus on your mental and physical health first.

Every month I like to provide a wellness challenge to our viewers. Would you be so kind as to provide the challenge for May?

25 daily pushups, work out at least 3 times a week.

How can people support you and the Brown & Balanced mission?

Easy! Follow us at

IG: @BrownAndBalanced

IG: @mrmixologist

In the Linktree, check out the Brown And Balanced t-shirts and hoodies and some educational things, and very soon, the B&B website will be complete!

Thank you, Josh!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


Amie's Snacks & Sips
Josh Davis "Black No Chaser"
 Josh Davis "Black No Chaser"

Cocktail: "Black, No Chaser"

Recipe:

1.5 parts Jägermeister Cold Brew

1 parts Russell's Reserve 10 year

.5 parts Carpano Antica

3 dashes Chocolate Bitters

1 dashes Black Walnut Bitters

Method: Build all ingredients in a mixing glass, stir and serve in a rocks glass over a large ice cube


Get to Know
Josh Davis
 Josh Davis

Josh Davis is the owner of DOM Bartending Service (Est.2007), founder of Brown And Balanced ( Est. 2017), and an active Bartender/Mixologist in the Chicago Bar Scene, with 17 years in the hospitality business.

Professional Accolades, Programs, and Experience

  • 2011 Academy of Spirits and Fine Service graduate - instructed by Southern Wine & Spirits Mixologist, Bridget Albert
  • Barsmarts Graduate
  • CRT Certificate
  • 2021 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award Finalist

Various brand integrations: Davos Brands( Aviation Gin, Sombra Mezcal, Iichiko Saiten, Astral Tequila), Remy Martin, Xante Liqueur, Effen Vodka, JMXO Vodka, Courvoisier(Rose Gold, and C by Courvoisier), Sorel Liqueur, Auchentoshan Scotch, and Don Q Rum, Moet Hennessy.

Cocktail Competitions – Grand Prize Winner

  • KAPPA Pisco Punch-Out – 2014
  • Effen Vodka Art of Design – 2011
  • “Best Bartender 2012” – Uptown Magazine Year-End Issue

Cocktail Conference/Immersions

  • Portland Cocktail Week – 7-year attendee, 4-year presenter, 3 years staff, and the curator of the welcoming party
  • Camp Runamok – 6-year attendee, 3-year counselor
  • Consultant for Lush Life Productions, a bartender education company
  • Tales of The Cocktail
  • Manhattan Cocktail Classic

IG: @BrownandBalanced

Get To Know The Healthtender
Amie Ward
 Amie Ward

Amie Ward is a Veteran Bartender, exercise physiologist and has been outspoken on her fellow service industry members' health and wellness. When she is not pulling trucks and training for Strongwoman competitions, you can find Amie appreciating the finer things in life like Jägermeister.

IG: @thehealthtender

Website:The Healthtender

Amie's Bartender Workout
EXRX for Bartenders