At 24 years old, Spork beverage manager Olivia Lindstrom has already made a name for herself in her field. She is the youngest president of Pittsburgh’s chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, a certified sommelier, a 2018 nominee for Pittsburgh’s Women and Whiskey Woman of the Year award, and was recently named one of 40 apprentices in a national cocktail program from the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.
Pittsburgh City Paper chatted with Lindstrom about being young, her love for science, and drinking in Pittsburgh.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Why did you become a sommelier?
I fell in love with wine in less of a romantic way at first, in the way a scientist falls in love with gram stains, test tubes, and experimentation. I come from a biology background and had this immediate draw to wine, because of the way it encompasses my love for hospitality and science.
Do you ever get pushback for being so young?
Of course, but who am I to let any sort of pushback or negativity get to me? I made one promise to myself as an adult: I would be happy with going to work every day. And I am.
Do you have any memorable moments from behind the bar?
A holiday after-party we hosted at Spork – there were probably 100 people in our 50 seat restaurant. We ran out of glassware and the three of us bartending were exhausted, but I had the best time. I love nights that I work my ass off with coworkers. I have to admit, I was sore the next day.
What’s your go-to cocktail?
A Negroni, no questions asked. Or, I'll show my support for the Aperol spritz. Can you tell I've spent some time in Italy?
Best drink you’ve ever had?
The Treasure Chest at Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago. They top it off with a bottle of 2006 Dom Perignon, can you really beat that?!
What’s your favorite bar in Pittsburgh?
I would probably say Acacia. That place feels more like my living room than my own living room.
How do you spend a day off?
I'm pretty good at knitting, so that's a new hobby of mine, and I could spend the rest of my life in Phipps if that was allowed. But right now, my perfect day off would include catching up on sleep, exploring Frick Park, happy hour or dinner at a place I don't usually get to often, and a concert (music is my life, and it's been a while since I've been to a live show), and then a night cap!