national restaurant association crowns cocktail titan for 2013 ‘star of the bar’
The National Restaurant Association crowned Steve Schneider, principle bartender at New York’s Employee’s Only, the 2013 Star of the Bar. The winner of Star of the Bar— a national cocktail competition conducted by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, and International Wine, Spirits, and Beer Event (IWSB) and sponsored by American Harvest Organic Spirit—was selected in front of a live audience at last night’s Restaurants Rock party at Castle Chicago. Judges for the event included Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, personality, and culinary author; Todd Richman, corporate mixologist of Sidney Frank Importing Company; and Master Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. On top of bragging rights for the year, Schneider walked away with a $5,000 check.
“As the 2013 Star of the Bar, Schneider had the tough job of creating a cocktail live in front of the famously opinionated Anthony Bourdain,” said Jeffrey W. Davis, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2013 and IWSB and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. “While the cocktail competition was tight, Schneider’s creativity and perfect execution under pressure were what lead him to take home the Star of the Bar title.”
Schneider was one of six finalists flown to Chicago to demonstrate his cocktail on the IWSB show-floor on Sunday, May 19. Three mixologists were chosen by IWSB guests to proceed to the final competition at Restaurants Rock, and Schneider went head to head with Chino Lee of Portland, and Art Tierce of Portland on Sunday night. Schneider shook up his “The Dean” cocktail with American Harvest Organic Spirit and wowed the judges with his addition of grapefruit juice and campari, ultimately winning him the Star of the Bar title.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and for letting me share the stage with them,” said Schneider, a former U.S. marine who’s been bartending for over 10 years. On top of this win, the New York bartender is currently in the running for America’s Best Bartender from Tales of the Cocktail, and will be featured in a new documentary out June 7 titled, “Hey, Bartender.” While Schneider is thrilled to have won the title of Star of the Bar, his favorite part of the competition was meeting the other competitors, “I didn’t know any of these guys coming in. Now, I have more bartender friends than I can even visit.” To see Schneider in action, check out his Star of the Bar submission video here.