Six of Dublin’s best drink mixers and bartenders shook things up June 13 at the inaugural Dublin Cocktail Classic at The Getaway Brewing Co., 108 N. High Street, in historic Dublin.
The contest is expected to return next year at The Getaway Brewing Co., according to Sara Hollabaugh, marketing director for the brewery.
Hollabaugh, with Tommy Householder, brand ambassador for Watershed Distillery, and Scott Dring, president and CEO of Visit Dublin Ohio, organized the Dublin Cocktail Classic.
“Our idea was to do something to bring together the Dublin (restaurant and bar) serving community,” Hollabaugh said.
In a blind taste test, a panel of judges selected the original cocktail creations of six bartenders from Dublin restaurants and taverns.
Those six bartenders competed on June 13, making the drink while explaining it to the panel of three judges.
“They are all bringing the heat and (are) very talented. I’m excited to be a judge,” said Rebecca Monday, a beverage consultant for Ellis Adams Group, Inc.
Nick Ansara, senior beverage operations manager for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and Bert Chavez, assistant general manager of Chapman’s Eat Market, served as the other judges.
The six bartenders who competed were Nate Bowers, of VASO; Nick Pennino, of Kona Craft Kitchen; Maura Music, of Harvest Pizzeria; Jeremiah Maya, of Kitchen Social; Emma Copsey-Pearce, of Coast House Wine; and Jessica George, of The Avenue.
Competitors were required to work at a Dublin-based bar or restaurant and were tasked to create an original travel-inspired cocktail, in keeping with the travel-themed décor of The Getaway Brewing Co.
The restaurant’s drink list is advertised on a wall-mounted, Scrabble-like board that resembles a 1970’s era arrival-and-departure board at an airport terminal.
Those who purchased tickets for the sold-out contest could sample each bartender’s creation and voted on their favorites.
In between preparing and explaining their drinks, each one at a time for the panel of judges, the bartenders staffed their work stations and greeted patrons.
Each bartender was required to use alcohol from Watershed Distillery but were creative in its use.
Pennino, 34, of Dublin, who won the Dublin Cocktail Classic, soaked bananas in Watershed bourbon and used the banana-infused bourbon as the base for his drink, “Perpetual Righteousness.”
The drink includes pineapple and coconut cordial, lime, Campari and Tiki bitters and was inspired by Hawaii, the state from which Kona Craft Kitchen obtains coffee beans and the Hawaiian island that is the namesake of the restaurant.
As winner of contest, Pennino’s drink is to be featured on the menu at The Getaway Brewing Co.
“I wanted to make a balanced but complex bourbon cocktail,” Pennino said.
George, 28, of German Village, created “Killing Me Softly,” using coconut-infused Watershed gin, orange and pineapple sherbet, lemon juice and Angostura bitters.
By using gin instead of rum and changing some other ingredients, George said the drink she created is “silkier” than another drink called “Painkiller,” and led to its apt name, “Killing Me Softly,” as compared to the more potent “ Painkiller.”
George’s concoction was the favorite of Kate Noggle, of Worthington.
“It was so fun to hear all the stories from the bartenders,” Noggle said.
Also enjoying the Dublin Cocktail Classic was Lauren Schmitt, of Dublin, and her mother, Melanie Schmitt, of Powell.
“We like cocktails and make our own at home. This is a fun night out and even gave me some inspiration to try some different things at home,” Lauren Schmitt said.
Copsey-Pearce, 28, of Bexley, created “Down by the River,” using Watershed four-peel gin infused with watermelon shrub, adding cherry bark vanilla bitters and lime juice.
Named for a British song from the World War I era, “I wanted to transform people to the English seaside,” Copsey-Pearce said.
Bowers, 33, of Grove City, created “Mai Dan” using Watershed guild gin infused with honey and jasmine, yuzu juice and cardamom bitters; while Maya, 21, of North Columbus, offered up “Kabuki Fizz,” using hibiscus-infused Watershed four-peel gin and adding Japanese plum wine.
The drink is named for Kabuki dancers, a classical form of dramatic dance in Japanese culture.
Music, 29, of Bexley, created “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken” drawn from her experience on a family vacation and her mother’s advice.
Made with pea-infused Watershed guild gin with blueberry yuzu syrup, Tajin seasoning and Angostura bitters, the drink was inspired by a particular family vacation in Mexico where a blueberry pie was enjoyed, Music said.
“It was a huge, great event that could not have happened without the support (received),” Householder said.