Best Sommelier - 2007
Andrea Lazar - CLOSED
Andrea Lazar prefers the title of "beverage director" to sommelier, but whatever you call her, she has changed the way Houston drinks. Lazar is a firm believer in the naturalistic notion of terroir, and a champion of underappreciated wines. One page of her wine list is devoted entirely to overlooked and underloved rosés. She is also an innovator. The restaurant's moniker is a nickname for a Mediterranean beverage called ratafia, which is made by marinating fruit and herbs in a mixture of wine and spirits for several months. From the beginning, Lazar has overseen the process, experimenting with ever more interesting combinations. Figs, blood oranges, lavender, Meyer lemons and Texas grapefruits are only a few of her favorite ingredients. The refreshing ratafias are served on the rocks or mixed with spirits to create wild cocktails that are spiked with frozen fruit cubes. Dark rum and blood orange ratafia with frozen pineapple rectangles turns out to be a great accompaniment to foods like grilled duck breast — especially in the summer.