Some competitors in MCW's kickoff, the Agave Gauntlet: Casa Noble Cocktail Relay, are longtime pals, some are relative newcomers; some gregarious, some a touch reserved: we figured we should level the playing field by helping them, and you, get to know each other a little better a head of time.


Clint Sterwald competes in the Agave Gauntlet Thursday night, and then plays host to Ellison Bay's Wickman House Friday night, as part of our collaborative late night bar crawl.

Sterwald's travels in the beverage industry have taken him from Milwaukee to Florida and back to Wisconsin: from YouTube auteur to teaming with Beard-nominated Chef Dan Fox as bar manager of Heritage Tavern. Madison Cocktail Week organizer Tom Dufek has known Clint nearly 10 years, first meeting at Milwaukee’s Hi-Hat, where Tom toiled under Clint’s iron fist as an apple-cheeked young barback. Perhaps Tom was projecting. To the rest of us, Clint’s simply an avid staff mentor who crafts balanced, food-friendly cocktails with a flair for the dramatic garnish.

Place(s) you work + your shift schedule:

Heritage Tavern – Stop in and there’s a good chance I will be here. 

twitter/instagram handle:

Twitter: @Heritage_Tavern 

Instagram: Heritagetavern

Who do you consider a mentor? Most important lesson they taught you?

I have learned so much from so many but I would have to give most credit to the Chefs and BOH staff I have had the privilege to work with. From techniques to flavor profiling, these individuals are all responsible for my success behind the bar and without them I would not be where I am today!

What sensations/emotions does the phrase "personal brand" immediately invoke?

Inspired and a bit tingly.

Favorite work of art [any form]:

Music, food and cocktails!

Tequila: sip neat, or in a cocktail?

Who am I to judge? I’ll take both!

MSG: Parmesan or Uncut Powder?

Pfft. Uncut Powder please!

Setting aside lime & orange--what are your go-to flavor combinations for agave-based distillates?

I try not to rely on ‘go-to’ flavors and ingredients but I would have to say peppers (all kinds), peppercorn, cocoa and bright herbs such as parsley, lemon & mint. 

What's your favorite Wisconsin/Midwestern source of acid--something tart/tangy to balance a cocktail? 

DC tart cherries and cranberries.

Over-under on how soon Wisconsin will be wine country:

Hasn’t that happened already? 

Your favorite tool (bar... or life):

My potato peeler and micro planer. 

Favorite vessel you've sipped out of:

So many vessels so little time but I always seem to have a little more fun when there’s a Spanish Porrón at the party!