Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

Hogtown Shakedown crowns top bartender in Toronto

With Toronto Cocktail Week drawing to a close, Thursday night saw the inaugural Hogtown Shakedown crown Toronto's best bartender. After a shortlist of 38 cocktail entries was whittled down to a semi-final at Spirit House, the final five found themselves facing off at The Drake Hotel, with legendary master bartender Dale DeGroff forming a judging panel alongside Toronto's mixological patriarch Dave Mitton and Buca's Rob Gentile.

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

Contesting for city-wide bragging rights were Shane Mulvany (The Chase), Veronica Saye (Home of The Brave), Jeff Carroll (The County General), Josh Lindley (Bar Isabel), and John Bunner (Yours Truly), supported by the losing semi-finalists as bar backs.

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

Charged with making 5 cocktails each, utilizing at least one of the five liquor categories on offer in every one, all the entrants were then surprised with a mystery box from The Drake General Store, from which they had to find ways to use absinthe sugar, rhubarb syrup, and maple bourbon pickles.

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

The crowd, in the meantime, were treated to snacks from The Drake, as well as custom cocktails, whilst they watched T.O.'s bartending elite sweat it out. Over the course of 40 minutes - with 15 minutes each to present to the judges, creations from the group slung their way over the bar.

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

After a lengthy deliberation, the man who placed 2nd at the Diageo World Class Canada Finals, Shane Mulvany, took top honours here. His drinks included, amongst others, a 'Nuclear Banana Daiquiri' (amber and overproof rums, yellow Chartreuse, velvet falernum, lime juice and sugar, with a banana garnish); 'Bruce Banner' (vodka, lemon, cucumber juice, absinthe sugar), and 'Dance With The Devil' (tequila, Aperol, lime, rhubarb juice, rhubarb syrup, and ginger beer).

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

If the folks at TiB can keep up the standard set this week, one can hope TCW will be a regular feature on the city's social calendar for years to come.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

Hogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competitionHogtown Shakedown cocktail competition

Photos by Jesse Milns


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

This Week on DineSafe: Hero Burger, Subway, Koek Koek, Starbucks, Second Cup

The top 10 vegan pizza in Toronto

The top 20 seafood restaurants in Toronto by neighbourhood

The top 10 brunch in Leslieville and Riverside

Toronto just got an AYCE Japanese BBQ restaurant

A Toronto cafe is now serving its drinks in blood bags

Toronto food events: Cask Days, Bubble Tea Fest, Canada's Baking and Sweets Show

The top 50 bakeries in Toronto