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by Söntés bartender Joshua Augustin

Pepper Gun

For those of you who were unable to attend the Sunday Sippers Series featuring High West Whiskey, let’s just say you definitely should make it to the next NSBG sponsored event. The evening was a success; about 30 people were in attendance—10 of them from Rochester alone. It was quite a treat to have so many people from Rochester make the drive up to support myself and the Guild, and at the same time taste some excellent whiskies!

Mat Garretson, co-owner and sales/marketing manager for High West, was on hand to talk about the whiskey, Utah, and the unique distillery and restaurant that they operate in Park City. A variety of light appetizers were provided, with Chef Bryce’s apple and blue cheese crostini being a big hit and pairing nicely with the whiskey and cocktails that were served up. Jackalope jerky was also available to be tasted. (Don’t even ask how long it took to catch that many jackalopes!)

The Wolpertinger

Jesse Held, NSBG president and bartender at Eat Street Social, provided three cocktails featuring High West whiskies, and I provided three cocktails as well. In addition to the 6 cocktails created by myself and Jesse, an “open bar” was set up with all of the High West products and some mixers so guests could try their hands at creating their own unique libations. Chatting with the guests, explaining the inspiration for the cocktails, and meeting new people were definitely some of the highlights of the evening. Thanks to Mat Garretson, Jesse Held, Marco Zappia, and the rest of the NSBG for helping to put on this awesome event!

And, in case you ARE interested in attending the next North Start Bartenders Guild event, please check out the NSBG Facebook page or website. The next big event, which is this Sunday the 28th, is the first round of the Iron Bartender (Minneapolis). This event is going to be epic! Sixteen two-person teams from Twin Cities area restaurants, and of course Rochester, are competing in a head-to-head challenge based on the popular TV show Iron Chef.

Teams will be given 14 minutes to come up with two unique cocktails featuring a secret ingredient, and will then be judged by a panel of three judges. Southern Wine and Spirits will be providing a variety of mixers, spirits, cordials, and other basic ingredients. Bittercube will be providing their hand-crafted bitters for contestants to use as well. Contestants are allowed to bring other tolls, mixers and ingredients including bitters and tinctures.

McLaren’s Folly

Aynsley Jones of City Cafe and I will be teaming up to represent Rochester in the first round of competition. We have been busy preparing syrups, making ingredient lists, and scouring recipe books and web pages for ideas and inspiration. Plus, we are going to have some “flair” for each round. Maybe I will dig out my old TGI Friday’s uniforms… probably not though!

To be quite honest, I have never competed in an event like this and I am a little nervous—but confident and very excited all at the same time! The event starts at 8:00 PM at the Icehouse on Nicollet Avenue and 26th Street in Minneapolis. We will be making our appearance on stage at 9:00, but be sure to get there early to get some great seats and drink specials!

Oh, and one more thing: this event is free to attend! Please come out and show your support for what we all do as bartenders and the unique talents in our industry!