Portland Bartenders Compete for Most Imaginative Bartender Title

by Alexander Frane on May 19, 2017 in Culture

From Top Left, Clockwise: Savannah “Smackdown” Weinstock, Adam Robinson, Cassandra Ericson, Amy Tegge, and Elizabeth Powell

The United States Bartending Guild is holding the regionals for its annual Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, hosted by Bombay Sapphire, on Monday, May 22 in Seattle, WA. Five local bartenders from Portland will be competing for the chance to go on to Nationals, which are held in London, England.

Portland’s five competitors are Savannah “Smackdown” Weinstock of Lantern Bar, Adam Robinson of Deadshot, Cassandra Ericson of T. C. O’Leary’s, Amy Tegge of The Whisk{e]y Library, and Elizabeth Powell of Ox and Whey Bar (and Vice President of the Oregon Bartending Guild). The five began an arduous process by developing a cocktail, then presenting it to the panel of judges, including the previous regional champion, Estanislado Orona. After being notified on Sunday, May 14, they had a week to finalize recipes and approaches before they head up to Seattle on the 22nd. From there, they’ll compete against five Seattle bartenders. One contestant from the ten regionals will then go on to compete in London for the title of World’s Most Imaginative Bartender.
 
Bartenders are judged on their drink’s creativity and quality as well as their presentation and style. Cocktails are expected come from a place of inspiration and story, rather than just a good sounding cocktail. For instance, Savannah Weinstock “wanted to have a visual and flavor story that told the relation between the moon and the sea,” she told Drink Portland.

You also need to represent yourself, as both a bartender and a person. Cassandra Ericson says, “What sets this competition apart is that you need to tell a story that shows your creativity, obviously, but also needs to tie in your personal life story. You only have eight minutes to present weeks of hard work to the judges.”

Amy Tegge has her own approach to telling her story, saying, “I’m ready to kick some ass. I’m gonna drag it up, cause GQ! Why not drag it up?”

Four of the five bartenders headed to Seattle are women, Weinstock pointed out, “I’m really proud of all the women that got in. They all slay. I’m honored to stand with them in this competition.”

The twelve regional winners from around the country, including one from either Portland or Seattle, will travel to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail in late summer for education classes. Then the team will move on to London, England for the final competition. The winner will be crowned the Most Imaginative Bartender in the World, and their face will grace the cover of GQ Magazine.

Photo via Alexander Frane

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