Sutton Schmalz

This week’s theme: bartenders

Schmalz, a native of the Western Slope, grew up in Montrose and graduated from Montrose High School. He currently is a bartender a Chili’s Restaurant, has a dog named Torie and is going to be a dad in November.

Q: Where did you learn to tend bar?

A: I learned here at Chili’s from our head bartender, Brian.

Q: What is the most popular drink you make?

A: Our margaritas are by far our best seller. Our signature house Presidente margarita is the most popular one.

Q: What meal pairs best with your Presidente margarita and why?

A: Probably our trio fajita goes best with that margarita. It’s steak, chicken and shrimp, and it come on a sizzling platter. A lot of our food pairs well with our margs because of our south-of-the-border menu.

Q: What is the grossest drink you have made?

A: Well, Brian showed me how to make a drink called a horseshoe. It’s Jim Beam, peppermint schnapps and amaretto liquor. I didn’t really like it very much.

Q: How often do you come across a fake ID?

A: I haven’t come across them yet, but we have passed a few ID stings where someone tries to buy a drink without an ID or a fake. I think they haven’t really gotten big here yet, but with the ones that are made overseas, they can look pretty real.

Q: Do you have a cut-off limit when you take a customer’s keys, and how often do you have to do it?

A: It’s up to the bartender. We have a height and weight chart that helps us gauge how much a person can drink before they are legally drunk. I’ve only had to cut off two or three people since I started working here.

Q: What is the most difficult drink you have had to make, and how do you make it?

A: That’s a tough one. I haven’t had to make anything too difficult here. Most people know what they like — you know, rum and Coke or a screwdriver.

— Nate Wick

“Familiar Faces” is a recurring feature that offers a brief profile of individuals who live in the Uncompahgre Valley in an effort to showcase what makes the area unique. Each week, the focus will shift to representatives of a specific group, such as photographers, teachers, clergy members, etc. To suggest a group or individual, email

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