Cocktail Shakedown Title Goes to Jones Assembly Bartender Jason Nguyen
Bartending Title Goes to Jones Assembly's Jason Nguyen
|October 1, 2018
||Photos from the 2018 Cocktail Shakedown
OKC bartender wins 5th annual state Cocktail Shakedown
Jason Nguyen of The Jones Assembly in Oklahoma City took first place with his creation, “Farewell to Summer,” which included strawberry, vermouth, and basil in the fifth annual Oklahoma Restaurant Association Cocktail Shakedown at the Oklahoma Restaurant Convention & Expo on September 26, 2018.
Nguyen was one of several bartenders scoring the highest number of total points in the first and second rounds of the competition, qualifying them to advance and compete in the Semi Finals and Championship Round.
Contestants in Round I created concoctions made with High West Bourbon, Madam Pattirini Gin, Effen Cucumber Vodka, and Ole Smoky Mango Habanero Whiskey. Drinks in Round II were made featuring Hendricks Gin, Elijah Craig Bourbon and Woodford Reserve and in the Semi-Finals competitors were mandated to create winning cocktails with Dobel Tequila and Cask & Crew Orange Whiskey. The Championship Round had the finalists chip their own ice off of a 30lb block provided by Vault Ice for use in their finished drink.
Nguyen’s final concoction in the Championship open round earned him a $1,500 cash prize, the grand champion belt, a 3rd generation Apple Watch, and a Vault Ice prize package. Thomas Upshaw of Fuzzy’s Edmond also showed his creative talents throughout the day, eventually claiming second place and walking away with $750 and additional prizes. Additional finalists included Nathan Cover of Fuzzy's Bricktown and Joshua Gallegos of Jazmoz Bourbon St. Cafe.
“Oklahoma’s bar and cocktail scene is really evolving and it’s exciting to see all of the interesting and delicious cocktails created by some of our state’s best bartenders. And even more exciting to know that some of them are available at the great restaurants in our membership,” said Patti Colley, ORA Chief Strategy Officer. “The energy surrounding the competition, along with the audience, continues to grow and we are so happy with the support of so many industry partners.”
Nguyen and Upshaw competed against 14 other Oklahoma bartenders from ORA member restaurants. Each bartender was judged on taste and balance, originality, and drink and stagepresentation. Other competing bartenders included Michael Cain - Pub W Norman; April Carter - Joey's Pizzeria; Nathan Cover - Fuzzy's Bricktown; Rainier Crespo - The Bunker Club; Jessica Dewane - Laffa; Karrie Evans - Mary Eddy's Kitchen x Lounge; Joshua Gallegos - Jazmoz Bourbon St. Cafe; Ryan Goodman - Ponyboy; Megan Harris - Bar Arbolada; Meghanne Hensley - Pump Bar; Katie Kahmann - Hacienda Tacos; Robert Simpson - Seven 47; and Austin Stallings - Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails.
Judges consisted of industry professionals Kyle Fleischfresser, The Hutch on Avondale; Molly Fleming, The Journal Record; J Mays, Cafe 7; and Ryan Parker, Traditions Spirits. Marcus Tilley of Traditions Spirits served as emcee.
The Cocktail Shakedown was presented in partnership with Platinum Partners Anheuser-Busch, Carlisle Foodservice Products, Central Liquor Company, Coca-Cola, Market Source, and Traditions Spirits; Gold Partners Auto-Chlor System, Fidler Marketing, Forbes Hever & Wallace, Heartland, Lasco/Nina’s Cocktails, and Superior Linen Service; Silver Partners Auto-Chlor System; Fidler Marketing, Forbes Heaver & Wallace, Inc./TableCraft, Heartland, Lasco; Heat Partners Cask & Crew Orange Whiskey - Boardwalk Distribution; Dobel Tequila & Republic National Distributing Co.; Effen Cucumber Vodka & Republic National Distributing Co.; Elijah Craig Bourbon & Southern Glazer’s; Hendrick's Gin & Republic National Distributing Co.; High West Bourbon & Republic National Distributing Co.; Madam Pattirini Gin & Boardwalk Distribution; Ole Smoky Mango Habanero & Southern Glazer’s; Woodford Reserve & Republic National Distributing Co.; Championship Heat Partner Vault Ice; and DJ and Break Partner Red Bull.