Stacey Swenson began bartending while attending college in her home state of Iowa. She continued working behind the bar when she moved to Chicago in her early 20s, but left to work as a cocktail server at a high-paying steakhouse. Feeling creatively stifled, she moved to New York City to absorb the growing cocktail culture and develop her skills. She first landed at American Whiskey, a high-volume, single spirit-focused bar near Madison Square Garden with a collection of more than 375 bottles. She then moved to Booker & Dax, the legendary experimental cocktail bar helmed by Dave Arnold.


In early 2016, Swenson joined the team at Naren Young’s Dante, a modern Italian bar and restaurant, where she took over as head bartender just a few months into her tenure. Her low-ABV cocktails and Negroni riffs gained a loyal following in the industry and won her a StarChefs Rising Stars Award in 2019. After a year and a half, Swenson took the reigns of Dante at Genuine, a pop-up collaboration between AvroKo Hospitality and Dante. Over the past few years, Swenson has helped run dozens of pop-ups and events all over the world for the brand.

Swenson’s drinks have a professional wink, but never at the expense of accessibility—like her sangria with local Amaro and pomegranate vinegar, or a Blood and Sand riff with ‘fluffy’ blood orange juice. She puts the pedestrian on a pedestal and takes lighthearted pleasures seriously, making every guest feel comfortable and special—defining the new fun-loving, openhearted, hospitality-driven bartender. In 2022, Swenson took over as beverage director of the newly opened Nine Orchard hotel on the Lower East Side. There, she heads up the cocktail menu at the hotel’s Corner Bar and Amado Grill restaurants and its rooftop bar, Greenhouse.


Green Beast
Bartender Stacey Swenson of Corner Bar | New York
Yield: 1 serving
Adapted by StarChefs

½ Granny Smith apple
½ avocado
1 celery stick
½ cup oat milk
2 teaspoons matcha tea powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons raw honey
Fresh parsley
Apple slices
1 sprig parsley

Combine apple, avocado, celery, oat milk, matcha tea powder, vinegar, honey and a handful of parsley in a Vitamix blender. Add ice and blend until smooth. Pour smoothie into desired glassware. Garnish with apple slices and a parsley sprig.


Hot Buttered Chai
Bartender Stacey Swenson of Corner Bar | New York
Yield: 1 serving
Adapted by StarChefs


Brown Butter Chai:
4 tablespoons butter
Masala chai leaves

Sage Cream:
Sage leaves
6 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar

To Assemble and Serve:
1 sage leaf


For the Brown Butter Chai:
In a saucepan over medium heat, brown butter. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine tea leaves and 16 ounces hot water. Steep 5 minutes. In a Vitamix blender, combine brown butter and chai. Blend on medium speed 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a mason jar or quart container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, strain mixture through colander. Strain mixture again through a cheesecloth-lined chinois. Reserve.

For the Sage Cream:
Bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch sage leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds. Transfer to an ice bath and let cool. In a Vitamix blender, combine blanched sage leaves and oil. Blend on medium speed 20 seconds. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, strain oil through a cheesecloth-lined chinois. In a Vitamix blender, add 1 teaspoon of the sage oil, cream, and sugar. Blend on medium speed until smooth.

To Assemble and Serve:
Final drink can be served either hot or cold. If hot, heat Brown Butter Chai in a saucepan over medium heat. If cold, add Butter Butter Chai to a glass filled with ice. Top with Sage Cream and garnish with sage leaf.


Content and recipes developed in partnership with Stacey SwensonStarChefs and Vitamix Commercial.