Tastemaker: Annie Williams, co-owner, Four Thieves Thirst Parlour; bartender, The Sycamore

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Why she's a Tastemaker: If Annie Williams has never personally mixed you a cocktail-and what a shame that would be-chances are you've unknowingly enjoyed at least one of her innovative recipes. The bartender and cocktail consultant's influence can be found all over the city's bar scene, especially thanks to her latest venture, Four Thieves Thirst Parlour, Columbus' first pop-up speakeasy. In just four years bartending, Williams has pushed numerous national trends, from macerating shrubs to crafting her own tonic waters.

Learning on the go: After helping to open Matt the Miller's Tavern in Grandview in 2011, Williams was recruited by Brothers Drake general manager Eric Allen to transition the Short North meadery's tasting room into a sleek cocktail and beer bar. Soon, she was developing mead-based cocktails, placing product orders and coordinating parties. "Brothers Drake really shaped the way I do things now," she says.

Popping up: Since October, Williams and partner Luke Pierce have hosted three pop-ups as Four Thieves Thirst Parlour. Over the next year, Williams hopes to continue collaborating with chefs, coordinating an outdoor event and taking the concept to new neighborhoods like Italian Village. Eventually, she could see Four Thieves becoming a brick and mortar or a line of alcohol-related products.

Testing her skill: A woman has never won the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender contest, nor has any bartender returned to the competition three years in a row. Williams aims to break both records this summer, as she competes to become a brand ambassador for the internationally marketed gin.

Never settling: Williams' curious mind and adventurous palate result in inventive cocktails time and time again. Take her first Four Thieves pop-up, for which she crafted three tonics for three different gins-including a Moroccan-inspired tonic water. "There's hundreds of gins," she says. "Why do we think one kind of tonic is appropriate?"


Age: 26

Previous gigs: Brother's Drake Meadery, The Crest, Matt the Miller's Tavern

Guilty pleasure: Bud Light Lime

Recommended reading: "Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails" by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day

Favorite ingredient? "Sherry is so versatile and runs the gamut from the rich, deep, syrupy ones to super-dry, floral pear ones."