NEW YORK, NY, JULY 13 -- The teams for the first ever CABANA CACHAÇA Bartender Olympics scheduled to be held at this year's Tales of the Cocktail on July 22nd were announced this morning by Matti Anttila, founder and president of the company. "We were overwhelmed with the entrants - in terms of the number of entries and the creativity in the cocktail recipes they submitted for consideration. In the end it was difficult to narrow down, but I feel we came up with five amazing teams that will represent their regions well,” he said.
The five teams, represented by the five colors of the Olympic Rings are:
Blue Team: Representing the West Coast, co-captained by Duggan McDonnell and Alex Straus: Los Angeles superstars Jason Bran from the Roger Room and Julian Cox from Rivera and R23 Restaurant will be joined by San Francisco’s dream team of Josh Harris and Scott Baird from 15 Romolo.
Yellow Team: Representing the Midwest, co-captained by Charles Joly, Tim Lacey and Ted Kilgore: Matt Seiter from St. Louis’ Sanctuaria will compete alongside some of Chicago’s best -Josh Pearson from Sepia, Lynn House from Blackbird and Debbie Peak from Bristol.
Black Team: Representing the Northeast, captained by Tim Cooper and Josh Durr: Kevin Martin from Boston’s Eastern Standard will join New York’s Justin Noel from the Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar, Candice Coy from the Surf Lodge and Brad Farran from the Clover Club.
Green Team: Representing the Southeast and bringing the heat from Miami, co-captained by Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi: Julio Cabrera of Viceroy, Robert Ortenzio of Señora Martinez, John Lermayer from the Florida Room and Tommy Merolla from the Living Room at W South Beach Hotel.
Red Team: Representing the Home Team, co-captained by Ricky Gomez and Bill Norris: New Orleans’ Adam “Rex” Scott of Napoleon’s Itch and Cole Newton from the Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar will be joined the Texas duo of Jeff Boley from Austin’s Paggi House and Joseph Mykal Le from the Aka Sushi House in Houston.
“The excitement of World Cup was only a preview to the competition that lies ahead”, says Anttila. “These teams are made up of some of the most talented bartenders in the industry and I can’t wait to see them compete.” The CABANA CACHAÇA Bartender Olympics will be broken up into three distinct challenges: Speed, Knowledge and Creativity. “We've designed the challenges around skills that every good bartender already has and uses each time they are behind their own bar. What will make this event exciting is the teams are made of the best of the best, and they are competing in front of an audience of their peers,” he added.
The judges for the games are among the most well respected in the hospitality industry and mixology community and include Francesco LaFranconi, Director of Mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits, Bridget Albert, Master Mixologist and founder of Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois Academy of Mixology and Culinary Education Program and author of Market Fresh Mixology and Jared Brown, founder of Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini, co-founder of New Orleans’ Museum of the American Cocktail and author of many spirit-focused books including The Soul Of Brasil, an amazing history of the world's third largest selling spirit: cachaça. “We are really pleased that these industry leaders will be joining us as judges to determine which team will take home the coveted Golden Muddler,” said Anttila.
The emcee for the event will be Ian Burrell, whose true passion for spirits has earned him the title of Global Ambassador for Rum and fueled his founding of UK RumFest…The Rum Experience, Europe's first ever festival to celebrate the diversity of Rum, now the biggest Rum Festival in the world. Burrell immediately stepped up to the plate when asked to host the event, "The competitors are a remarkable pool of talent and I do not envy the decision that awaits the judges. I just hope I get to sample some of the delicious cocktail creations!”
The CABANA CACHACA Bartender Olympics will be held outside the Hotel Monteleone on Thursday, July 23 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Everyone is encouraged to attend and cheer for their favorite bartender. Live entertainment and cocktails will be provided for everyone. The medal ceremony will be held immediately after the competition.