Bartender favorite Andrew Calisterio leaving Sacramento for Phoenix

A profile of Andrew Calisterio was the Feast cover story back in August, showing how this talented 26-year-old bartender exemplified the latest generation of craft cocktailers in Sacramento.

So how does Calisterio follow this up? By moving to Phoenix.

That’s right, Calisterio is pulling a reverse Kevin Johnson and setting up shop soon in Arizona. Calisterio is moving on Oct. 12, but his last shift at Hook & Ladder will take place tonight. He’ll follow that with a final shift on Tuesday morning at Golden Bear.

“I just want to have a nice, calm shift to get some cash in my pocket so I can go out that night,” said Calisterio.

Calisterio isn’t making the move for cocktail reasons. He’s following his girlfriend to Phoenix, where she’ll work in recruitment for TEKSystems, a specialist in IT staffing.

“I love Sacramento immensely and have a lot invested here,” said Calisterio. “But at the same time, I love my girlfriend and want to take the next step.”

Calisterio said it’s been a bittersweet time as he boxes up his belongings. He’s emerged as a leader in the young guns of Sacramento’s craft cocktail industry, with his incessantly cheery personality and technical skills, whether it’s replicating a classic recipe or pushing the envelope.

Calisterio, who’s also an alum of San Francisco’s Maven, launched a line of POP bottled beverages which were a hit around town. His soda-like cocktails featured an ever changing array of seasonal ingredients, and one recent creation was a riff on on Filipino style bubble tea. The Sheldon High graduate also taught a seminar in carbonated cocktails during August’s Midtown Cocktail Week.

Calisterio is still settling on a gig in Phoenix, but shouldn’t have too much trouble given his reputation in the River City.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate,” said Calisterio. “I posted something on Facebook and within a half hour I got a few offers and recommendations. But I’ve never been to Phoenix before, so I want to know the lay of the land. I want to see what’s relative to my housing and find a space that’s a good fit to learn something, and hopefully add something.”

Whatever bar hires Calisterio will be lucky to have him. In the meantime, Calisterio plans to keep his POP brand going and also pick up some bar shifts whenever he’s in Sacramento for a visit.

“I definitely have intentions of coming back to Sacramento some day,” said Calisterio. “Sacramento has so much heart and quality, and is always exporting awesomeness. I’ll always be proud of Sacramentans and that’ll never change.”