- interview by Sara Gorelick
Fabulous people are teaching us everyday that you don't necessarily have to be a bartender to find a place at the bar. Selena Ricks, aka The Dizzy Fizz, is making a real name for herself with all the innovative ideas she has for today's ever-changing cocktail culture.
Selena is a Maine native who started at a daily newspaper reporter straight out of college. After a five year stint at the Portland Press Herald, she moved to New York with a dream to work at a magazine. After a year, she got in the door at (now defunct) TRACE Magazine, a hip hop fashion and culture glossy. Highlights of her time there included interviewing singer Mya, traveling to Jamaica and South Africa and making connections with talented writers and photographers. From there, Selena moved to Sheckys.com as their Nightlife editor where she covered New York bar reviews. She also happened to make friends with quite a few mixologists. Sadly Selena was laid off but she found a new outlet in blogging and started working on her site, TheDizzyFizz.com to cover New York cocktail culture. To pay the bills, she works full-time as a marketing and PR copywriter for a moving and storage company, which happily gives her freedom to keep up her writing and freelancing on the side.
Not only is Selena known for her writing, but she it renowned in the New York area for her exceptional events. In 2010, Selena focused on industry parties geared toward New York bartenders and bar professionals, brand-sponsored brunches for New York bloggers and food writers and larger parties for all fans of the cocktail. "One common theme is that all of my events feature punch," Selena noted. Selena's favorite bar tool is the punch ladle, which is no surprise because this little lady helped expedite the increasingly popular punch phenomenon. "Punch is great for parties because everyone gets served immediately, and I love the look of large glass orbs filled with different punches."
Selena's latest event was the Holiday Spirits Bazaar, held in Brooklyn at the Green Building on December 11th. Selena took great artisinal spirits, books, and gift ideas in the area and turned them loose on some very interested shoppers. "I was thinking about the BUST Craftacular and thought it would be fun to do something similar with cocktails,"she said. She hopes to set the date much earlier next year to have more cocktail-focused vendors, such as bar tool purveyors and glassware brands.
When given a choice, Selena goes for a Rye Manhattan or a Martinez with Benedictine instead of maraschino liqueur. She knows a thing or two about bartending as well, having won the New York round of the New Amsterdam Gin "Next Gin-eration Cocktail Challenge." For this event, only bloggers and writers were invited to compete. Each contestant had 10 minutes to make a drink on the fly from a variety of ingredients, and Selena found her edge with using fresh-squeezed orange juice.The Greenmarket Smash
With a varied background and big plans ahead, Selena Ricks is a name to know. She has loved her time so far in the industry, especially because of all the connections she has made. "Hands down, meeting so many great people who are passionate about what they do and know how to have a good time,"Selena said of her favorite part of the spirits world. "Spirits people take themselves far less seriously. And I love that I can go into any decent cocktail bar in NYC and, chances are, I'll know the bartender and probably a few people seated at the bar, too. Being in the industry makes New York City feel almost like a small town."