Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Battle to the Top

Veteran bartender Nicole Battle continues a career of mentorship as the new president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.




photos by laura petrilla

 

Nicole Battle’s longstanding friends in the Pittsburgh bartender community lovingly call her “Battle Axe.” The younger generation of bartenders, and even some of her friends, call the 39-year-old täkō head bartender “mama” or “mom.” 

“I don’t know where that comes from but I’ve always been the person who is the big sister, the responsible one, the one who makes sure everyone gets home OK,” she says. 

In January, Battle became the third president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild. Election to that leadership position is a capstone in a bartending career that to date has spanned nearly 20 years. “When I first joined the USBG (in 2008), it made me realize that there was so much more to bartending than just waiting on customers. There is this amazing creative process that goes along with bartending, too,” Battle says.

Battle grew up in Shirley, Mass. and in 1997 followed her mother and sister to Pittsburgh. She picked up bartending shifts — her first job was at the now-closed Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District — to earn money while pursuing a photography degree at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Slinging drinks remained a means to an end for the next decade. Working for the big Burrito Restaurant Group, first at Mad Mex in Oakland and later at Kaya in the Strip District, changed her outlook about the job. 
 


At Kaya she created her first custom cocktail, Drunken Pumpkin martini (pumpkin puree, tequila, agave nectar). “Looking back now, I’m like ‘Wow, you knew nothing.’ But at the time I was so proud of that drink. It was a good drink,” she says. 

Maggie Meskey, the first Pittsburgh USBG president, suggested that Battle attend a bartender’s getaway called Camp Runamok in Kentucky. 

“That changed everything. The bubble popped. I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life,” Battle says.

After she returned, she crafted cocktails at Spoon in East Liberty with Pittsburgh bartending icons Sean Enright and Heather Perkins. “I love when people ask me for advice. But I also still feel like I still need advice. Those are some of the people I reach out to when I do,” she says.

Nowadays, though, she’s usually the one that people turn to for advice. As Guild president, head bartender and “mom,” she’s become a lynchpin in the Pittsburgh’s bartender community. 

“I’m almost 40. Mentoring is what keeps me going. It’s my favorite part of this job right now,” she says. 



 

Under Your Spell

This drink was inspired by a cocktail I had last fall in Rome at The Jerry Thomas Project. It’s a perfect cocktail for these winter months with its smoky and sweet flavor profile, and the addition of mezcal and chocolate. I love cassis so much. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate it into cocktails, and I think cassis and cacao are beautiful together.

  • 2 oz Del Maguey Vida mezcal
  • ½ oz Carpano Antica vermouth
  • ¼ oz Tempus Fugit creme de cacao
  • ¼ oz Joseph Cartron creme de cassis

Directions: Add all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir. Strain over large cube in a rocks glass. No garnish.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Watch: The First Episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

The landmark childrens television series was first broadcast 51 years ago this week.

Our Full 2019 Oscar Predictions

Somewhere beneath all the headlines and controversies, there are actual awards to hand out.

Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Skip the Gift at this Wedding at the Carnegie Museum of Art

In a romantic twist on its Third Thursday events, the Carnegie Museum of Art is throwing a wedding this week, and everyone in Pittsburgh is invited.

See What Piece of Pittsburgh is Going to the Moon

Of all of the items proposed, this one earned the most votes.

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

What Brought Walt Disney to Pittsburgh

A futuristic attraction at the Allegheny County Fair drew a curious Walt Disney to Pittsburgh — and had a lasting impact on modern transportation.

Writer Damon Young on "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker"

The co-founder of Very Smart Brothas chats about his new memoir — and the state of Pittsburgh.

Makeup Makers: More Beauty Brands are Coming out of Pittsburgh

A pair of local businesses are breaking into the health and beauty business with innovation and tenacity.

How Well Do You Know Pittsburgh?

What do you know about the fountain of youth in North Park? The relics at St. Anthony’s? The history of Pittsburghese? We bring you all this and more in our guide to Pittsburgh lore full of insider info and fun facts. Plus, take our quizzes to test your expertise of all things Pittsburgh.

Are You a Yinzer or a Pretender? Take our Quizzes

Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your whole life or are a newcomer, there may be things you don’t know about our city — but you should –– so we have these quizzes to test your knowledge of the city’s pop culture, sports, food history and locales.

Restaurant Review: Northeastern Kitchen

The Squirrel Hill restaurant introduces Pittsburgh to Dongbei cuisine.

PM on KD: The Spring Weddings Issue

PM Content Coordinator Jesseca Muslin appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our spring weddings issue.

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Watch: The First Episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Watch: The First Episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

The landmark childrens television series was first broadcast 51 years ago this week.

Comments

Skip the Gift at this Wedding at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Skip the Gift at this Wedding at the Carnegie Museum of Art

In a romantic twist on its Third Thursday events, the Carnegie Museum of Art is throwing a wedding this week, and everyone in Pittsburgh is invited.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

Comments

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

The popular Strip District eatery is set to expand with a to-go pizza counter.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Comments

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Ebenezer Baptist Church team up for "Let My People Go! A Spiritual Journey on the Underground Railroad."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.

Comments

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Appreciating the Patriots requires a healthy dose of historical perspective.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Our Full 2019 Oscar Predictions

Our Full 2019 Oscar Predictions

Somewhere beneath all the headlines and controversies, there are actual awards to hand out.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The horror sequel pivots in unexpected directions, for better and for worse.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments

An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

Sometimes, the future love of your life is just around the corner, whether you know it or not.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Part of a three-phase plan, the 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses range in price from the mid-$600,000s up to $1 million.

Comments

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Savannah Hayes adds six new wallpaper designs to her line of throw blankets, accessories and tea towels.

Comments