Making a SPLASH: SCOT NEWELL
The road to being an “award-winning bartender” has been a long and winding one for Georgie’s Alibi bartender Scot Newell. For example, Newell laughingly notes that he got into bartending through “necessity.” “I was working in New York as a lighting designer, and it certainly helped to propel me into the creative area that I am now in, but it just wasn’t paying the bills,” he recalls.
“Anyone who has ever lived in New York knows what the bills are like. One day, I was offered a job doing lighting at Caroline’s Comedy Club. They explained that there were not too many hours available for lighting and stage management, but they could offer me a few shifts bartending.” His first leg on that road had begun.
“I was at Caroline’s for several years, before I decided I really wanted to get out of New York,” Newell remembers. “I had an offer to go to Provincetown to redo a retail store. I moved to do the job, and there I got another offer to redo the Post Office Café. I really never planned to stay in P-town, but I ended up there for eight years. After finishing the decorating projects, I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I was at the A House—which is a very well known bar in P-Town—for eight years. During the summer months, it was great. People called it ‘Little Bar Scot.’
“The winter months weren’t so pleasant,” Newell says. “It was cold, rainy, snowy, and there was not a lot to do. So after eight years, I decided to winter one season in Florida. I had met George Kessinger—the creator of Georgie’s Alibi—in P-Town, and had known of the reputation of the man and the bar. I applied for work while I was down here, but like a lot of other people, I didn’t hear a word.” Newell laughs. “But I wouldn’t quit trying! I kept bugging Georgie to the point that it had become a joke. It was either ‘I was going to get a job,’ or there would be a restraining order issued,” he half-jokes.
After getting his job at Alibi, Newell again decided to pursue his creative side, and in 2002, he presented his design portfolio to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. He enrolled that day, and completed the four year program in just three years, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. In 2004, he incorporated his Great Scot Enterprises brand.
In 2010, Newell got a call from his former employer, George Kessinger, who was living in Palm Springs, California. Kessinger had previously sold the Wilton Manors Alibi, and moved to the desert, opening Azule and the Palm Springs Alibi. In partnership with the Tourism Board of Palm Springs, Stoli Liquors, and LoGo TV, they created the Palm Springs Stoli Summer Splash Cocktail Challenge, events held across the U.S. and Canada at the top LGBT bars and nightclubs, with favorite local bartenders competing against one another to stir up the best signature cocktails, and win a trip to Palm Springs for the finals, which was precisely what Scot did. After winning the regional competition, held in Fort Lauderdale, he captured the national first prize. Today, Newell holds court at the original Georgie’s Alibi in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors every Saturday morning, beginning at 11 a.m., and he can be found there throughout the week, as well. Here is the recipe for his award winning cocktail:
3 oz. of Absolut Citron
1 oz. of pomegranate liqueur
A splash of each of the following: sour mix, cranberry juice, and 7UP.
Garnish with a lemon wheel and Pomegranate seeds.
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