BARDSTOWN, KY – Heaven Hill Brands and Liquor.com announced the two finalists of the New York regional semifinal competing for the 2016 Bartender of the Year competition. Pietro Collina of Nomad in New York won first place and $1,000; Naomi Levy of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston won second place and $500.
Seven semifinalists competed regionally Monday, March 21 at Analogue in New York. Semifinal bartenders competed in two rounds, first mixing one of their original cocktail entries. Four contestants moved on to the second round, creating three cocktails of the dealers’ choice, using Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, or Rittenhouse Rye Whisky in each cocktail.
National Brand Educator for Heaven Hill Brands Lynn House, Director of Mixology & Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York Allen Katz, and Beverage Director for Holiday Cocktail Lounge Michael Neff judged the semifinalists’ cocktails and chose two finalists based on highest scores. Cocktails were scored on name, appearance and presentation, inspiration, balance of flavors, aroma and character, while contestants were also scored on creativity, presentation style and product knowledge.
More than 600 original cocktail recipes were submitted online nationwide beginning August 1, 2015. Preliminary entries required two original cocktail recipes, one classic and one innovative, along with a short description of what hospitality means to the contestant. The top two contestants from each regional semifinal will vie for the title of Bartender of the Year and $15,000 at the St. Regis Bahia Resort in Puerto Rico in June 2016. Finalists will be challenged on their full range of skills as hospitality professionals. Judges will be looking for the ultimate bartender who displays the total breadth and aptitude all bartenders aspire to embody.
Grounded in the original Bartender of the Year Competition hosted by Domaine de Canton starting in 2009, Heaven Hill Brands resurrected the competition due to strong demand from bartenders worldwide. Past winners of the competition include John Lermayer, Sean Kenyon and Dennis Gobis.
The 2016 Bartender of the Year Regional Semifinalists who competed in New York are as follows, in no specific order:
Extra Fancy, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Wit and Wisdom, Baltimore
The Nomad Bar, New York City
Bourbon Springs, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Middle Branch, New York
Michael R. Anderson
Butcher and the Rye, Pittsburgh
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Boston
Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Brands (www.heavenhill.com) is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Larceny, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Deep Eddy Vodka; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; Hpnotiq Liqueur; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila; Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.