Ahhh, cocktail competitions. They are a beast!
My first was the Made With Love event this March where I got to write a review for She Does the City (ARTICLE HERE). It was massive, and I'll admit, nothing like I imagined. I pictured that I'd be seated in a movie theatre with all the competitors lined up on the stage, fancy servers handing out their drinks. With pads of paper at our sides where we could rate the cocktail based on creativity, presentation, taste, texture. My visions of grandeur cocktail competitions were very wrong. They'd have to pay a small town of employees to make that happen.
In reality, 17 great bartenders set up booths, and the audience went around to each one chatting with the bartender and tasting a 1 oz. sample of their concoction. It was actually way better than I imagined because we got to interact with them. My favourite person to talk to was Jeff Puddy from the Thomson Hotel. His cocktail was magical and savoury and I freaking LOOOOOVE savoury cocktails. The audience voted by handing out a "Made With Love" dog tag that we got upon entry to their favourite bartender. Person with the most tags at the end of the night wins! Jeff got mine.
My pal from high school Ryan Stobnicky was working the event! Haven't seen that guy in years. Definitely one to watch on the cocktail scene, he's a bartender at the Drake and just the nicest!
Michael Mooney's cocktail was so great, I can't stop thinking about it. You can read more about it on my review for She Does the City.
So then I went to my second cocktail competition but a week later, but this time it was all ladies competing, all using spirits from Dillon's Distillery (I also wrote a review for She Does the City and you can READ IT HERE)
Ana Wolkowski won the event for her cocktail pictured below. I thought it was pretty genius that she paired the local Dillon's rye with Bellwoods Brewery's Cat Lady IPA.
These were definitely some highlights of my month :) Hope you guys like the articles. All of the photos were taken by Michael Morris (Click here for the link to his website)