In search of the country’s Most Original Bartender, Stoli and UrbanDaddy visited some of the nation’s best mixology hot spots. From NYC and Miami to Dallas, Chicago and LA, competitors mixed their way through a series of challenges as they vied to represent their city in the finale at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
Along the way, a panel of judges evaluated the bartenders on their flair, skill and originality. After a heated battle in New Orleans between five finalists from across the country, Omar Yeefoon from Dallas won it all with his Highland Park cocktail.
As Stoli’s Most Original Bartender, Omar will hold the title for a year, his drink will be featured in The Official 2014 Stoli Cocktail Book, and he’ll be treated to a night out in Dallas curated by UrbanDaddy.
So, where are you from? Coney Island, New York.
What makes you a Stoli original bartender? I work at a bar where there’s no menu and I create something to match the palate of anyone who walks in the door.
What first drew you to bartending? I liked the hospitality aspect. I wanted to host people in a bar setting.
Talk to us about the Dallas cocktail scene. As a city, we’re still pretty new in the cocktail scene. It doesn’t matter what bar you work at. We’re all friends working together to push the scene forward.
What’s the most difficult part of being a bartender? Getting a read on someone. When you talk to people, the best thing you can be is a mirror to them. You should project a certain similarity from yourself to them to make the person feel more at ease.
Why do you like mixing with Stoli? Because it’s very crisp and clean. It’s a great base for cocktails that takes on the flavors I want to add to particular drinks.
The winning cocktail.
2 oz Stoli Salted Karamel
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Top with champagne
Across the country, competitors shook, stirred and occasionally lit things on fire as they crafted unique Stoli cocktails. Each contestant impressed the judges with their personality, creativity and craftsmanship behind the bar.
Click below to get a close-up look at the winners from New York, Miami, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles.