Judging the First Annual Clayton Cocktail Cup
I had the thrilling honor of being a judge of the Clayton Cocktail Cup. I consider myself a bit of a cocktail connoisseur so I was more than delighted to lend my taste buds to the cause. Alongside fellow judges Allyson Mace of Sauce Magazine and Nathan Kromat of Major Brands, we judged the contestants on flair, taste, technique, and aroma of their signature drinks.
The evening started off with a delightful cocktail mixer (I’m always down for good networking). A great group of happy people came out to enjoy a host of finger foods and sample some great drinks while eagerly awaiting the main event.
The format was a cool platform that mimicked Food Network’s popular television show “Chopped“, where the contestants were given five minutes to give show us their signature styles.
The Cocktail Cup featured five of the area’s top mixologist as they represented their perspective establishments.
- Nick Whren of Weber Grill
- Monica Schepsis of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
- Kyle Snyder of Cafe Napoli
- Karl Schmitz of Barcelona Tapas Bar
- Gabby Harrison of Barrister’s in Clayton
In the round one, the contestants were tasked with concocting their best drink featuring rye. The second round was to create cocktails with gin being the star of the drink, and the last round was a freestyle.
It was three rounds of gut-wrenching, back-breaking, blood, sweat, tears, shaking, pouring and stirring. Ok, I’m going a bit overboard but these pros gave it their all. The creativity was off the charts.
This was a close race.
Each of these professionals were confident in their abilities and it showed when it counted. But in the final round, the last two standing were Monica Schepsis and Nick Whren. We were really impressed with the professionalism showed and preparation these folks put in, but somebody had to get chopped!
After an intense deliberation by the judges, Monica Schepsis of the Ritz-Carlton reigned supreme.
She shined in each round. Her skill set was apparent as she emerged as the evening’s victor. The Ritz really has a jewel of a mixologist on their team.
Danyelle and I had a great evening at the inaugural Clayton Cocktail Cup in determining who would be crowned the best of the best among top St. Louis bartenders.
We can’t wait for the next event. Until then, cheers!