Damon Boelte is co-owner of Brooklyn, New York's award winning cocktail bar, Grand Army, as well as the experiential specialist for the California Brandy House in Napa, California. Previously, Boelte was the global brand ambassador for Brooklyn Gin, and the senior portfolio manager for Branca USA in Southern California. He has been a major fixture in the New York City mixology community for almost two decades, has won multiple awards in broadcast journalism as the creator and host of The Speakeasy here on Heritage Radio Network, and is a contributing cocktail and spirits writer for Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Wired, Eater, and many others. He has consulted on countless spirits, wine, and beer brands as well as bar, restaurant, and hotel projects, and has used his background in graphic design and communications arts to brand & re-brand companies along the way. He currently lives in Marin County, California, where he plays music and cruises the coastal highways.
After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in 1994, Sother Teague spent several years as a journeyman cook under Southern stalwarts and James Beard Award-winning chef and pastry chef duo Ben and Karen Barker of The Magnolia Grill, as well Scott Howell of Nanna’s in Durham, North Carolina. During this time—from the vegetable patch to the barnyard—Teague developed a mantra to live by: “not afraid of flavor.”
When the opportunity arose to work as the research and technical chef for Alton Brown on the Food Network show “Good Eats,” Teague moved to Atlanta. He enjoyed the educational aspect of the program and got hooked on teaching. Teague next set off for Vermont for a post at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier.
When Teague moved to New York, a “happy accident” landed him behind the bar. Formerly of Rye in Brooklyn, Teague now heads the bartending team at Amor y Amargo, where he combines research and kitchen skills with a later-in-life love for drinks and cocktail culture. With the tagline “a bitters tasting room,” Amor y Amargo is also a store and center for cocktail education. Teague also hosts “Speakeasy” on the Heritage Radio Network.
Greg Benson is a bartender, mixologist and food & beverage writer in New York City. He’s worked in bars across the US and Great Britain and was The Knot Magazine’s featured mixologist of summer 2018. In addition to co-hosting The Speakeasy he runs the Spirited Award-nominated history podcast Back Bar.