The National Restaurant Association® today announced the five finalists of the 2017 regional Star of the Bar competitions, who will fly to Chicago to face off in a live event on May 21 at BAR 17, the premier beverage-alcohol event, for a chance to win the coveted Star of the Bar title and $5,000 grand prize.
Presented by the National Restaurant Association and United States Bartenders’ Guild, Star of the Bar tasked competitors in five culinary cities—Boston, Chicago, Miami, Austin, and San Francisco—with creating an innovative cocktail for local judges. The Star of the Bar finals will feature an all-star panel of judges, including “World Class Bartender of the Year” Charles Joly; award-winning author and President & Master Mixologist of Creative Cocktail Consultants Brian Van Flandern; and Tony Abou-Ganim, a three-time winning contestant on “Iron Chef America,” and author of the Modern Mixologist. CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions Billy Dec will serve as emcee for the cocktail showdown.
The annual Star of the Bar regional competition series kicked off in Boston at the New England Food Show, with regional competitions concluding at Rye in San Francisco. The complete list of regional finalists competing for the Star of the Bar title at the NRA Show this May include:
- Boston Finalist: Tenzin Samdo
Restaurant/Bar: Tavern Road, Boston, Massachusetts
Winning cocktail: “Little Hut on Mitchell Road," a take on the classic Pina Colada recipe, made with Privateer Rum; housemade coconut pineapple milk, garam masala spices, Lune d'Abricot brandy, orgeat, and Peychaud’s Bitters, garnished with cherries and dried flowers
- Chicago Finalist: Luke Edson
Restaurant/Bar: The Berry & Rye, Omaha, Nebraska
Winning cocktail: "Typhoon," gin-based cocktail, created with muddled cucumber, housemade kaffir-lime leaf-coconut milk syrup, and lime juice, with a woven cucumber ribbon garnish
- Miami Finalist: Morgan Zuch
Restaurant/Bar: Datz, Tampa, Florida
Winning cocktail: “Perky Punch,” a tequila-based cocktail made with coffee-infused honey, crème de peche, cold-brewed coffee, and orange bitters served over a smoked, cold-brewed ice sphere, with a pickled peach garnish
- Austin Finalist: Nathan Reffell
Restaurant/Bar: Marriott Marquis Houston’s The High Dive, Houston, Texas
Winning cocktail: "The Garden Party," a Hendrick’s gin-based cocktail made with muddled red bell peppers, Aperol, cucumber juice, lemon, and simple syrup, garnished with cracked black pepper and cucumber ribbon
- San Francisco Finalist: Chad Brown
Place of work: B-Side, Sacramento, California
Winning cocktail: "Bittersweet," a stirred cocktail with Armagnac, Kronan Swedish Punsch, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, and a dash of Peychaud's Bitters, served with two bites – a candied orange peel and piece of dark chocolate
Held Sunday, May 21 and Monday, May 22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, BAR 17 is co-located with NRA Show 17 and offers attendees the opportunity to share ideas through new programming, appearances by industry leaders, and an expanded exhibition floor.
Registration is open for beverage professionals and members of the media; a BAR 17 pass also includes access to the NRA Show from May 20-23. For more information on how to attend the final Star of the Bar showdown at NRA Show 2017, please visit the BAR 17 or NRA Show 2017 websites.