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Cognac Bartending Showdown

Matt Durgin at Colt & Gray
Matt Durgin at Colt & Gray
Photo: Examiner

On Monday, November 5, Cognac Ferrand, through its brand manager Matt Durgin, will host the Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840 Hospitality Mix-Off &Bartending Showdown beginning at 6 p.m. Colt & Gray will provide delicious bites and the setting for this meeting of mixologists with cognac on the mind.

Make no mistake though: this is not just another mixology competition. "We're trying to push the boundaries of the mixology competition and make it just as much about actual bartending and hospitality as it is about the recipe" said Durgin of the event. "We believe that anyone can pull it together for 5-7 minutes in order to present the judges with (typically) 3 perfect drinks. It's another story when the bartenders must execute service and manage each other in a foreign space," Durgin added.

Six contestants were chosen based on the strength of their recipe submissions to compete for the title of Master of Hospitality & Mountain Mixology. They are: Carla Chang Sandoval of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, Melissa Durant of the Green Russell, Justin Lavenue of the Bitter Bar, Jason Patz of Williams & Graham, Adam Hodak of Bonnano Concepts, and Anthony Giovanni of Gaetano's.

The judging panel includes Rhonda Follrath of Boca Loca Cachaca, Anika Zappe of Punch Bowl Social, and James Lee, beverage director and proprietor of the Bitter Bar.

This event is free to anyone of legal drinking age, but all guests must rsvp at

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