Domaine de Canton Names Finalists and San Francisco Cocktail Week Sets a Date

Carol Donovan, bartender, owner of Intoxicatingly Fun Cocktails and secretary of the Illinois chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild won the “Experience Cognac” quiz and essay contest; she received an all-expenses paid spot in the 2012 International Cognac Summit, which brings top mixologists from all over the world to Cognac, France, every January. Second place went to Katie Stipe of Vandaag Bar in New York City; third place went to Peter Vestinos of Prospect in San Francisco. Stipe and Vestinos received scholarships to the Beverage Alcohol Resource five-day training program.

Carol Donovan

Bartender Carol Donovan receives an all-expenses paid spot in the 2012 International Cognac Summit for her winning entry in the “Experience Cognac” quiz and essay contest.

Domaine de Canton has announced 16 finalists for its 2011 Bartender of the Year competition. Beginning June 5th, the contenders will compete for three days at the La Samanna Luxury Resort & Spa in French St. Martin as they vie for a grand prize of $10,000. Judges for this year’s competition include brand owner John Cooper; 2010 Bartender of the Year Sean Kenyon; Tobin Ellis of BarMagic, Las Vegas; Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails Inc., New York City; and Dushan Zaric of NYC’s Employees Only and Macao Trading Company. The finalists are Brian Matthys of New York City; Claire Sprouse of Houston; Damian Windsor of Los Angeles; Gabriel Orta of Miami; Halle Bruno of Cleveland; J.R. Starkus of Las Vegas; Jason Strich of Washington, D.C.; Jay Kuehner of Seattle; Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Portland, Ore.; Josh Harris of San Francisco; Mathias Simonis of Milwaukee; Matthew Eggleston of Chicago; Naren Young of New York City; Noah Heaney of Denver; William Codman of Boston; and Stuart Fitz of London.

Damian Windsor

Judge John Cooper (left) congratulates 2011 Bartender of the Year finalist Damian Windsor of Los Angeles.

Dante LoPresti of Double A at Mercadito Chicago won the second annual Star of the Bar competition at the 2011 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event. Judges included Chef Tom Colicchio, Tony Abou-Ganim and Bacardi portfolio mixologist Brian Loukmas. LoPresti's Pink Lion cocktail won him $5,000. The Pink Lion is made with Cazadores Blanco tequila, Hum hibiscus liquer, Lillet blanc and simple syrup.

Dates are set for the Fifth Annual San Francisco Cocktail Week: Sept. 19-25. San Francisco’s liquid culture, cocktail heritage, bar talent and industry will be toasted with a weeklong celebration equal parts soiree and symposium. The event is presented by the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail (BCCAC) and will be held in venues, bars and restaurants throughout the Bay Area, with a schedule of events and sponsors announced in the coming weeks. The BCCAC is a not-for-profit organization co-founded by cocktail entrepreneurs H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir), Jeff Hollinger (Comstock Saloon, The Boxing Room and Absinthe) and Duggan McDonnell (Cantina). Co-producing the event are Kevin Diedrich (Burritt Room), Aaron Gregory Smith (15 Romolo), Scott Baird and Josh Harris (The Bon Vivants), WDFA Marketing, Dominic Phillips Event Marketing and Ellipses Public Relations. For the latest updates, visit, and

Are you really a bar chef? If so, perhaps these competitions will interest you: Buffalo Trace is calling for entries as it launches the 2011 Buffalo Trace Grillin’ Contest! Share your recipe featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon in a new virtual contest located online within the whiskey’s social network Website at Does Tabasco intrigue you? Chefs are challenged in a recipe competition showcasing street food. Contestants entering the 2011 Tabasco Brand Hottest Chef Contest can submit entries by July 18 online or mail in a downloadable form available at Create an original entrée recipe inspired by some of the world’s most popular ethnic cuisines found in modern street foods. Qualifying entries must be easy to prepare in a foodservice kitchen, incorporate easily sourced ingredients and include one or more of the three flavors from the Tabasco family: Original, Green Jalapeño and Chipotle. The contest awards a $10,000 grand prize to the professional chef with the winning recipe.

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