NRA’s Star of the Bar Finalists Announced


The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show has announced the six regional Star of the Bar Mixology Competition winners. This annual competition provides a national platform for mixologists to highlight their skills and creativity.

Bartenders from across the country submitted their original cocktail recipes which were reviewed and scored by a judging panel of professional mixologists and competition ambassadors. Mixologists who received the highest scores were invited to compete in the regional events throughout March and April in Washington D.C., Chicago, Tampa, Nashville, Las Vegas and San Diego, with the top two competitors facing-off in a live “shake-off” with a featured spirit and ingredients.

The winners of each regional event advance to compete in the Star of the Bar Finals, which will take place on Mon. May 20 at 7 p.m. at the NRA Show’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at Tao Chicago. The Finals will be scored and judged by cocktail industry veterans Jessica Lambert, Jarmel Doss and Tony Abou-Ganim; the winner will receive a cash prize and recognition as the “Star of the Bar National Mixology Champion.”

Here are the six regional winners and their cocktails.

Washington D.C. Regional: Chad Spangler, partner at Service Bar
Cocktail: Margarita Al Pastor
1½ oz. Partida Blanco tequila
½ oz. Raicilla
½ oz. Pineapple
1 oz. Al Pastor
¾ oz.  Lime 

Garnish with pineapple fronds, charred and seasoned pineapple and smoldering wood.

Chicago Regional: Javier Arroyo, bartender at Bar Sotano
Cocktail: Quetzalcóatl’s Treasure

2 oz. Butter-infused Tequila Partida Reposado
1 oz. Roasted corn puree
½ oz. Lime
¼ oz. Simple syrup

Tampa Regional: Shawn Newman, bartender at Prato
Cocktail: Bitter Sweetness

1 ½ oz. Brugal 1888 rum
¾ oz. Strawberry-infused Aperol
½ oz. Cocchi di Torino
½ oz. Cocchi Americano
2 Dashes Angostura orange bitters

Nashville Regional: Nicholas Shearer, bartender at Sazzy B
Cocktail: Bring the BEET Back

2 oz Partida Tequila Reposado
½ oz. Raspberry
½ oz. Orgeat
1 oz. Dry vermouth
Bar spoon dehydrated beet root

Las Vegas Regional: Gregory Rodriguez, bartender at Oak & Ivy
Cocktail: La Cosecha

1 oz. Brugal 1888 rum
¾ oz. Palo Cortado sherry
1 tsp. Golden raisin honey syrup
Bar spoon Amaro Sfumato

San Diego Regional: Brian Prugalidad, bartender at Hubertus Circle
Cocktail: Scotch, Bright
2 oz. Highland Park Magnus Scotch
¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Giffard orgeat syrup 
½ oz. Midori 
¼ oz. Simple syrup
Topo Chico soda
Fresh ground nutmeg

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