Battle of the Bartender Winners

Drumroll please! The inaugural Battle of the Bartenders was a huge success, and the results are in. Ten bartending teams from Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley came together at the Depot on September 24th and created their best cocktails featuring Montanya Rums. Visiting bartenders known for their expertise in artisan cocktails joined Montanya founder and owner Karen Hoskin in judging the original creations and proceeds benefited the Center for the Arts Crested Butte.

Winners of the 2019 Battle of the Bartenders pictured with Montanya Distillers co-founder and co-owner Karen Hoskin. Left to right: Drew Henry and Sarah Lane Lubeley of the Dogwood (Runner-Up), Karen Hoskin (Montanya Owner), Nontobeko Mbokwana and Eliot Tilton of the Divvy (Champions), and Brandon Lehman of the Princess (People’s Choice). Photo by Nathan Bilow.

Winners of the 2019 Battle of the Bartenders pictured with Montanya Distillers co-founder and co-owner Karen Hoskin. Left to right: Drew Henry and Sarah Lane Lubeley of the Dogwood (Runner-Up), Karen Hoskin (Montanya Owner), Nontobeko Mbokwana and Eliot Tilton of the Divvy (Champions), and Brandon Lehman of the Princess (People’s Choice). Photo by Nathan Bilow.

Champion: Eliot Tilton, The Divvy
Bar Back: Nontobeko Mbokwana
Cocktail: "Tristezas Do Mundo Se Foram"
(Sorrows Of The World Be Gone in Portuguese)

Runner-Up: Drew Henry and Sarah Jane Lubeley, The Dogwood
Cocktail: The Western Slope Shuffle

Honorable Mention: Ayla Scott and Molly Turner, The Slogar
Cocktail: The Bananas Imposter

People's Choice: Brandon Lehman, The Princess
Cocktail: The Live Wire

Photos by Nathan Bilow Photography

 
Battle of the Bartenders judges Daniel M. Veliz, Karen Hoskin and Michelle Glancy taste the winning cocktail from the Divvy. Photo by Nathan Bilow.

Battle of the Bartenders judges Daniel M. Veliz, Karen Hoskin and Michelle Glancy taste the winning cocktail from the Divvy. Photo by Nathan Bilow.

The guest judges came to Crested Butte just for the event. Daniel M. Veliz is the former Global Beverage Director for Trader Vic’s Worldwide (birthplace of the Mai Tai), and Michelle Glancy is a well respected bartender from Denver, most recently at Denver’s Rino Yacht Club and SevenGrand. Karen invited them to the event because of their distinguished careers in bartending and mixology and the discerning palates (and of course great personalities!) they brought to the judge’s panel.

 

The teams drew straws to determine the order of judging, and the judges considered and rated several factors: recipe creativity and originality; glassware choice; service (flair, presentation and hospitality); visual appeal of the cocktail; aroma taste and balance of the flavors; cocktail name; and bar set up and décor.

The top three results were so close that every point had to be tallied in oder to determine the winners. (And Karen says they wish they’d had an award for the most fabulous outfits because the team from Slogar definitely would have won!). Here are a few photos from the event, taken by local photographer Nathan Bilow (click on the images to advance the slide show):

 

Stay tuned for details on the 2020 2nd Annual Battle of the Bartenders. Organizers from Montanya and the Center for the Arts have already been meeting and making plans!