Ashley Billiet of Pints in Davenport was selected the state’s top mixologist at the Iowa Restaurant Association’s annual statewide mixology competition finals held at Prairie Meadows in Altoona in September. Billiet, along with nine other competitors, placed first or second in one of five regional competitions to earn a spot in the finals which were held as part of the Iowa Restaurant Association’s Dine Iowa Grand Tasting Gala. The competitions were co-sponsored by Luxco Spirited Brands and Pearl Vodka as well as Beam, Inc. and their Knob Creek and Jim Beam Brands.
Competing bartenders created three drinks for judging: the first using any flavor of Pearl Vodka; the second featuring Jim Beam Black; and the third using Knob Creek Rye. Bonus points were awarded for personality. Cash prizes were awarded for the top two finishers. Joshua O’Connell of Wrigleyville in Cedar Rapids placed second.
In addition to the formal competition, the ten mixologists created sample size portions of their competition drinks for more than 300 adult beverage aficionados to sample and vote in a People’s Choice Competition. The People’s Choice winner was Rex Schulze of Splash in Des Moines.
Innovation Meets Classic
“The mixology competition was added to our annual September celebration of Iowa’s hospitality industry several years ago and each year the drinks and display becomes increasingly creative and sophisticated,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “Even the classic cocktails were presented with fresh new approaches and unexpected ingredients. This year’s competitors truly brought their A Games to the event.”
Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s hospitality industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. www.restaurantiowa.com.
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Media Contact: Jessica Dunker, firstname.lastname@example.org