Mixologist Meaghan Montagano from Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, NY, has emerged as the 2015 Star of the Bar, a national cocktail competition hosted by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and BAR (Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants) at the NRA Show in Chicago. Montagano’s Banana Danza cocktail featured Casamigos Anejo tequila with banana du bresil, dry curacao, lemon juice and chocolate bitters, garnished with microplaned chocolate and nasturtium flowers.
Six regional finalists from cities across the country competed at the BAR event. The final three mixologists—Montagano, Elmer Mijanicanos of San Francisco’s Tony’s Pizza Neapolitana and Madison Burch of Atlanta’s Seven Lamps—were chosen by BAR guests on May 17 and went on to the final competition at Restaurants Rock party that night.
The live event, held at the House of Blues Chicago, was emceed by chef and television personality Geoffrey Zakarian. The drink contenders were judged by chef Maneet Chauhan, mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim and Eater Chicago editor Daniel Gerzina. In addition to bragging rights and the Star of the Bar title for the year, Montagano (pictured above with Zakarian) received with a $5,000 check for her winning cocktail recipe. Here it is:
2 oz. Casamigos Anejo tequila
1 oz. Banana du bresil
¾ oz. Dry curacao
½ oz. Fresh lemon juice
3 dashes Chocolate bitters
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with microplaned chocolate and nasturtium flowers.