Peter Vestinos

peter-vestinos-largePeter Vestinos grew up in Boston and started working behind the bar in his early 20s. What started out as a part-time weekend job during film school ended up a career. His first interest was in wine and he began studying and learning all he could about wines.

During a visit to New York, Peter discovered true craft cocktails. He returned to Chicago and in 2007 managed the bar program at Michelin-starred Sepia. The restaurant was pioneering the craft cocktail movement in the city and Peter was at the forefront of what would turn out to redefine the industry. Peter then joined Wirtz Beverage Group, a leading national distributor of top luxury and premium wine, spirits and beer brands. As the company’s beverage development director, he created cocktail programs and trained staff at various Chicago establishments including Naha, Bar Novo at the Renaissance, Nomi at the Park Hyatt, Gibson’s Steakhouse, The Roof at the Wit, Elate at the Hotel Felix and The Exchange.

In 2010, Peter moved to San Francisco, where he consulted on various restaurant openings and served as West Coast sales and marketing director for Death’s Door Spirits, working to build the craft distillery’s presence in Northern California, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. A year later, he launched his own beverage consultancy, The BarMedic with his first project being Chicago’s Michael Jordan’s Steak House. It was here that Peter was introduced to The Perfect Puree. In 2012, Peter returned to Chicago to develop and manage the bar program at bellyQ. His focus here was on Asian flavors and ingredients.

At bellyQ, Peter uses the purees for his popular drinking vinegars: sharp, tangy infusions of fruit, vinegar and sugar. The drinks are refreshing, versatile and fairly easy to recreate. Peter uses purees and concentrates in flavors like passion fruit, lychee, tamarind, mango, caramelized pineapple, raspberry and coconut. He says his drinking vinegars are an especially good pairing for lunch because they are refreshing and non-alcoholic.

“The Perfect Purées flavors are always spot-on,” he says. Each flavor isn’t overly sweet and he likes the fact that he’s able to manipulate the sweetness to create optimal balance and freshness of flavors in every beverage. Peter’s recipe for drinking vinegars can be tailored to the season, swapping out various puree and concentrate flavors.

Featured Recipes by Peter Vestinos

Passion Fruit Drinking Vinegar

Flavored Ice

Recipe Videos by Peter Vestinos