Bartending competitions are one of the many things I love about the spirit industry (you don't see busboy competitions, do you?). And I particularly love judging them, watching bartenders perform their magic within the limitations of the rules, sometimes pushing those rules to delicious effect.
So I can't wait to judge the DeKuyper Mix Master Bartender Contest, at 3 p.m. Saturday; it's part of the Denver Food & Wine Classic Grand Tasting event that starts at noon at Metro State on the Auraria campus, and the Bartender Contest will be right next to the Beam Global Bourbon Street Bar Tent. Contestants will be creating cocktails or shots using three or fewer liquid ingredients, one of which must be DeKuyper.
As of now (and there will be more), the following bartenders are slated to compete:
Bob Svenson from the Ginn Mill Eli Black from the Ginn Mill Sage Swink from the West End Tavern Pete Calikes from the Stadium Inn Rich Wisniewski from the Stadium Inn Nick Kropp from the Happy Noodle
Finalists from this week's preliminary bartender competitions will compete for a prize that includes $1,000 and a trip to New Orleans to compete against twelve other city winners in a nationwide competition that comes with a $10,000 award.The Denver Mix Master winner will also be featured with the winning cocktail in the Colorado Beverage Analyst.
The Grand Tasting is a can't-miss event, even if you're not judging cocktails (officially, at least). Last year I divided my time between the wine tent and in the Beam bar, "sampling" some amazing Knob Creek mint juleps and other delightful bourbon cocktails.
I never made it back to the bench for night court and I don't expect to make it back this year. Court is adjourned.