Last Sunday night we hosted our second “I’m Not “Really” A Bartender” amateur cocktail competition. For this competition, we pair cocktail enthusiasts with professional bartenders who serve as their mentors to sharpen and/or develop their skills as a bartender and help them develop cocktail recipes.

Our contestants this time around were a Roman Catholic Priest, the Superintendent of Liquor Control for the State of Ohio and a Business Strategist/Irish Whiskey Podcaster. The mentors that they were paired with are all rock stars of the craft cocktail scene in Columbus, Ohio. They all performed magnificently. So much so that the judges had a very tough time picking a winner. It was like watching an episode of Top Chef where you want all the Chef’s to win because they’re so great but not picking a winner would be a disservice to the competitors. The competition was taped before a live studio audience and we’ll post it to YouTube as soon as we get it edited. You can see for yourself what a great time it was.

What you probably won’t see is how nervous all the competitors were. This was so striking to me because each of these men make a living presenting to a crowd — Fr. Nic delivers his homily at church service, Barry speaks to crowds of business people at seminars and hosts a video and podcast called Stories & Sips, and Jim is an attorney by trade and bureaucrat charged with controlling the liquor in the entire State. All complex, high profile positions. In the end, they all got through it with flying colors and, I think, a greater appreciation for what it takes to be behind the stick.  

Barry, the Irishman, skillfully won first place with a well-thought-out cocktail and presentation that, of course, included a potato garnish.