Myria Free is known around town as Austin’s “The Whiskey Princess”— and for good reason. She’s a self-taught mixologist that has curated some of the city’s most innovative and cherished whiskey programs. Her deep love affair with spirits began the day she filled in for an absentee bartender at a Lake Travis spot where she worked as the lead server. She quickly realized that she had a knack for experimenting with flavor combinations and began building a following. She moved on to various bars in the downtown area, always curious and engaged, before taking a hiatus to join a start-up.
Years later, she found her way back to the hospitality industry and accepted an offer to open Austin’s first bourbon bar. Her task was to build the best bourbon list outside of Kentucky, and Free diligently began studying and tasting everything she could get her hands on, mastering myriad nuances of the palate. That success eventually led her to Freedmen’s, a lounge housed in an historic building in West Austin, where as bar manager Free began playing with more whiskey offerings, being mindful to include something for everyone in her repertoire, from crowd pleasers to a few of her favorites.
She draws from her books, travels, and dreams to create inspired—never boring—drinks. Now as operations manager of Freedmen’s, she oversees the collection of more than 160 whiskeys, passes on her knowledge of spirits and life, and encourages others to explore until they discover that aha moment when a cocktail comes together. For The Whiskey Princess, it is all about creating experiences and brightening other people’s days.
Photo and story courtesy of Paula Biehler Public Relations