Kallen Schmerler: 2015 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Culinary Arts

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

You submitted nominations for the best and brightest emerging Valley creatives, and the results are in. Presenting the 2015 BigBrain finalists.

Leading up to the announcement of winners at Artopia on May 9, Jackalope Ranch, Chow Bella, and Up on the Sun will introduce the finalists. Up today is Kallen Schmerler.

There's no shortage of places to get a good drink in Phoenix. But even amid a growing number of restaurants and bars serving truly craft cocktails, Lux Central offers something unique.

The midtown hipster haven is a coffee shop and cocktail bar rolled into one, with an über-cool vibe that tends to attract creative types. They sink into the cozy chairs with a cup of joe during the day and belly up to the bar for a drink at night.

See also: Announcing the 2015 Big Brain Finalists

But you won't find a cocktail menu at the low-slung bar. Instead, Lux's stable of talented bartenders created drinks for each customer through dialogue. The process forces the drink-makers to find out what their patrons really want and gives them the freedom to create drinks that showcase their individual styles.

For Lux bartender Kallen Schmerler, that often means drinks as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. With a reputation for working with ingredients including St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Champagne, Schmerler crafts visually stunning cocktails garnished with everything from fresh fruit and herbs to lemon peels cut into miniature heart shapes.

When she's not behind the bar, Schmerler moonlights as a sketch artist. Earlier this year, she participated in the Ladies First annual art show at Jobot Coffee, alongside local names including Ashley Macias, Tara Logsdon, and Carrie Marill.

Schmerler declined to be interviewed for this piece, and Lux owner Jeff Fischer did not return multiple phone calls from New Times.

The 2015 Big Brain Award winners will be announced on Saturday, May 9, during New Times' Artopia, an evening of food, drink, art, and music at Monarch Theatre. For details and tickets, $25, visit www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bigbrainawards.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.