FINLANDIA VODKA WORLD WIDE
Patricia Richards competed in the
2010 International Finlandia Vodka
Cup competition, held in an ice dome
in northern Finland.
is rising “star
of the bar”
Member since: 2005
Director of mixology,
Wynn/Encore Las Vegas
Address: 3131 Las Vegas Blvd.,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Telephone: (702) 770-4648
Comments about Costco:
“I like to look for great deals
on wines. Basically anything in
bulk that will save me money
over the year is what I load up
on. Occasionally I splurge on
your fresh-cut flowers also!”
By Fred Minnick
WHAT DO YOU TAKE on a trip to the Arctic
Circle? When Costco member Patricia Richards
traveled there in February (yes, February), she
went prepared: cold-weather boots, multilayered
pants, heavy coat, hats, gloves and a cocktail shaker.
That’s right, a cocktail shaker.
Richards, who is director of mixology for Wynn
Las Vegas and Encore, was at the Snow Village in
Levi, Finland, to compete in the 2010 International
Finlandia Vodka Cup against 31 of the world’s best
Mixologists are high-end creative cocktail crafters who understand spirits better than the average
beer-slinging bartender. A bartender can pour a
drink or read a recipe, but a mixologist invents recipes and can match your flavor desires with a cocktail
that you may have never considered. The Finlandia
Vodka Cup is considered their Olympics, and
Richards was the lone Yankee competing.
With 40 international media members surrounding her, Richards prepared her creation—
Nirvana Sour-Aperitif made with Finlandia
Grapefruit Vodka. Despite breaking the bottle con-
42 ;e Costco Connection OCTOBER 2010
taining one of the ingredients (Darbo Elderflower
Syrup) in transit and having her fresh strawberry
garnish freeze onto the ice-slab bar, Richards placed
fourth, the highest American finish in the event’s
The Vodka Cup was the Arctic icing on
Richards’ prestigious career. However, her road to
mixology queen was indeed mixed.
FRED MINNICK PHOTOGRAPHY
Richards grew up in Jasper, Alberta. When she
was 4, the Canadian courts deemed her mother, a
schizophrenia sufferer, unfit to raise her children.
Richards and her baby brother were placed in foster
care. For the next 14 years, Richards continually
tried to impress her German immigrant foster parents, hoping to win their love and affection.
“As a child, you know early on that something is
different. You want to fit in and be like other kids,
but you realize you’re not like every other kid,”
Richards tells The Connection. “As a child you are
vulnerable to that, trying to find out who you are.”
It would be several years before Richards figured out who she was. She found refuge in the
kitchen, expressing her creativity with food. She
attended culinary school at the Vancouver
Community College and worked as a line cook and
as a waiter in Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles.
In 2002, the Los Angeles Four Seasons hotel
promoted her to bartender and she found her calling. The first drink she made as a licensed bartender was a Cosmopolitan. These days she invents
cocktails, such as the Sinatra Smash, a fusion of
Gentleman Jack whiskey, cassis and blackberries,
that are picked up by bartenders across the country.
Richards was recruited to Las Vegas’ MGM
Grand to work as the specialty room bartender at
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find blenders, as well as
cocktail ingredients (including alcohol where available) at their local Costco.