What do you get when you combine the bravado of professional wrestling, a rivalry between two cities, a dozen creative bartenders, and a whole lot of tequila? The answer is something like the Espolon Tequila Cock(tail) Fights. Espolon Tequila has sponsored these events in numerous cities. This past Monday, they held their third annual bout between Birmingham and Atlanta, and we were asked to go along for the ride and to help judge the contest, which pitted six bartenders from each city against each other. Birmingham took the belt last year, but our champion Will Hamrick wasn’t able to attend this time around. The event was held at Atlanta’s Terminal West, and the home team came prepared to win back the title.
The Birmingham contingent chartered a bus to Atlanta and brought along a sizeable cheering squad of about twenty fellow bartenders. You can imagine that when you put 25-30 bartenders on a bus, things might get a little raucous.
At the event itself, audience members were allowed to purchase fake money and place bets. They could then cash in their winnings for Espolon swag. Each bartender was asked to adopt a stage personality, which you can see on the betting board below. In the first round, the participants competed head to head, with one Atlanta bartender facing off against one Birmingham bartender. Each made the Espolon cocktail recipe they had submitted to the contest.
In the second round, the six winners from round one had to make 10 cocktails and a shot in four minutes. They were judged on consistency, accuracy, speed, and technique.
The two best scores from round two faced each other in round three. This ended up being two Atlanta bartenders, David “the Donald” Dixon and Paige “Spitfire” Lane. And the winner was Atlanta’s David “the Donald” Dixon (who used to be a bartender in Birmingham).
So Atlanta ended up taking home the glory this year, but a good time was had by all. We’ll get them next year.