The National Restaurant Association today announced the finalists for the Star of the Bar 2015 competition at the 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and BAR (Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants).
Star of the Bar 2015 will be hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian (pictured above).
Following six regional competitions in cities nationwide, finalists will be flown to Chicago in May to showcase their bartending skills. The industry celebration will be held at The House of Blues Chicago on Sunday, May 17 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Each of these bartenders were challenged to create an innovative cocktail using sponsor spirit, Casamigos Tequila, for a shot at the finals and a chance to win $5,000. The following bartenders were selected from their respective markets:
- Atlanta: Madison Burch of Seven Lamps combined Casamigos Tequila Reposado with Fresno chili-infused Sepp Zweigert, lime zest, Orgeat and chocolate bitters for a spicy cocktail that she named “Once More with Feeling.”
- Chicago: Andrew Turner of Bottlefork created the “Elotéd,” a butter-washed Casamigos Tequila Reposado with lime juice, brown sugar, corn, allspice simple syrup, mole bitters, chili liqueur, roasted corn puree, egg white, chipotle chili powder, cayenne, pepper and white hominy.
- San Diego: Stephen Tuttle of Kettner Exchange infused Casamigo Tequila Reposado with serrano pepper for his “Casa de Tiki,” which also featured mezcal, pineapple, lime juice, Orgeat, Falernum, Curacao and black walnut for a cocktail with brightness and spice.
- San Francisco: Elmer Mejicanos of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana crafted a food-centric cocktail named “Panadero” made with Casamigos Tequila Reposado, strawberry, Hot Infusion Siphon citrus tea, toasted bread, lemon juice and walnut cordial, topped with mint foam.
- Las Vegas: Seong Ha Lee from Tokyo 365’s winning cocktail was called “Forbidden Amigo,” combining Casamigos Tequila Reposado with flavors of sage and ginger, bright apple and lime juices and sweet honey.
- New York: Meagan Montagano from Extra Fancy combined Casamigos Tequila Reposado with Banane du Bresil, dry Curacao, lemon juice, and chocolate bitters garnished with grated chocolate and nasturtium flowers for her winning cocktail “Banana Danza.”