Kristin Lozano, certified sommelier


Kristin Lozano got her start in the food and beverage industry at a Dairy Queen in Alaska. As a 15-year-old, serving up DQ Blizzards was just a means to her first car. These days, Kristin is a certified sommelier working at 58 Degrees & Holding Co., Amaro Italian Bistro & Bar and occasionally Paragary’s, where she guest bartends and leads wine tasting classes. No longer dreaming of her buying a beater car, Kristin’s goal now is simply to be the best at what she does: making craft cocktails, serving up the most delicious wine you’ve (probably) ever tasted and generally making your day a little brighter. Kristin is small. Kristin is saucy. Kristin will quietly laugh at how awkward your Tinder date is. She would also love to pour you another drink so you can laugh at it, too.

Do you ever judge a person by their drink order?

Not at all. I think that stereotypes when it comes to drinking wine are out the door. I see 300-pound, 7-foot-tall men drinking rosé like it’s nothing, whereas before I think it was kind of … I wouldn’t say frowned upon, but you know, someone might say, “What do you mean you’re not drinking scotch on the rocks?”

It seems like the food and beverage industry is male-dominated.

Oh, absolutely, but I love that feeling because I shake up that perception. I’ve had flaming purple hair. I have tattoos. I’m edgy. I curse. I drink whiskey. I think the males in the som community like to see that change. I think you really have to have that kind of outgoing, almost forceful personality to kind of make it in a male-dominated field. But there are some great Master Sommeliers that are women.

What did your parents think when you told them this was your career path?

It took them awhile to adjust. I actually went to school for neuroscience, so that was quite a big shift from, “Hi, I’m going to be a doctor,” to, “Hi, I’m drinking all the time and working late, weird hours.” But the more time that I actually spent in it, the more they saw it’s not just bartending—it’s history that I get to learn. I study all the time. I study more so now than I ever did going to school because I am in love with what I’m studying.

Do you have any guilty pleasure drinks?

I love a pineapple daiquiri. That is a guilty pleasure. An old-school daiquiri prepared the classic way: two parts rum, one part sugar, one part lime. Not blended, just shaken. But there’s a pineapple rum that I’m in love with. It’s sweet and you could almost drink it on its own. That’s one of my guilty pleasures. I’d say I’m an equal-opportunity drinker. I think I like to drink more according to either my mood or the time of year. I tend to drink a lot more reds in the winter, a lot more scotches or whiskeys. Summertime comes white wine and beer, cheap Tecate. That’s another guilty pleasure: Tecate. You see that a lot with craft cocktail bartenders or wine professionals, they spend their whole day drinking, talking, breathing what they’re doing, so at the end of the day they just want a shot of well whiskey and a $2 beer.

Speaking of cheap drinks, any recommendations for affordable wines?

There’s a Chianti Classico that we’re selling in the retail section [of 58 Degrees for] $18 and it’s one of the most beautifully complex, fullest Chianti’s I’ve ever had. It’s amazing. I sell everybody on it when they come in. But, you know what, Trader Joe’s always has really good wine. [If] I want to grab a few bottles to have a little dinner get-together, I can grab five bottles and spend like 35 bucks. Even with their private reserve zinfandel for $5 a bottle, I’m like, “This is pretty good. I would drink this.” However, there are $20 bottles I could buy at Safeway right now that I would spit out because they’re just horrible and overproduced.

You see a lot of first dates now at wine bars. Do you ever sit and watch them go awry?

Yeah. The best was I had two people meet at my bar. Dude orders the most expensive glass of wine. Chick goes to the bathroom. Mind you, she’s a very pretty blonde. When she comes back out she finds the guy has chugged his $25 glass of wine and just left her; just bailed on her and left her with the tab. That was just flabbergasting. And she was so distraught, she went up to our general manager and asked, “Is it what I’m wearing?”