Eighteen teams came to WIN the title of Champion at the MVRA's 5th Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders.
The Miami Valley Restaurant Association's 5th Annual Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders saw a record number of both contestants and guests. Eighteen restaurants came to win over 500 guests who tasted and sampled their way through the event at Prime Time Party Rental.
All The Right Tunes provided music while Prime Time set up an electric bull and Velcro wall to add to the fun. I’ve failed at riding an electric bull before, though I can imagine me suiting up and taking a leap at that Velcro wall.
The six judges were sequestered away from all the action in a cozy conference room. As you might imagine, the competitors presented a variety of cocktails including one frozen concoction and one that required popping an herb in before you sip, though no one brought heat this year. Among the foods, I highly recommend the Goat Cheese Panna Cotta from Lilly’s.
The 2018 Champion of the MVRA Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders is Brock from Wheat Penny. "The Merchants Wife" is a unique and refreshing watermelon concoction.
Wheat Penny also captured the Best Pairing Award by adding Chef Jenn DiSanto’s Watermelon Carpaccio with Feta & Olive Oil alongside a handmade Rosemary Cracker with Feta Mousse and Watermelon Radish. For those who didn’t try it, you’ll have to take my word for it, it was delightful and perfectly paired!
Second place went to Natalie Clouser of Basil’s on Market for “Rhuby Slipper A Light”. A tasty cocktail garnished with thin flat pieces of handmade hard candy that could have been mistaken for ice was offered with Sesame Seared Tuna Wakame Salad on a Fried Malanga Chip and Srirachi Aioli.
The “Electric Mule” by Travis & Josh of Carver’s landed in Third Place. Their variation of a Moscow Mule was garnished with blood orange paired with a White Russian Cupcake topped with Buckeye Vodka infused White Chocolate Buttercream.
The coveted People’s Choice Award went to the team at Dewberry 1850 for their “Lavender Buckeye” served up with a Citrus Olive Oil pound cake with Macerated Strawberries & Fresh Whipped Cream.
Thank you to Buckeye Vodka, Amy Zahora, the MVRA, their sponsors and volunteers, especially Donna Zahora and Sandy Frounfelker for weaving through the dense crowd at least 18 times with trays of food and cocktails without spilling a drop.
2017 Bill Castro of El Meson "Tamiami Miami"
2016 Nikolaus Hunt of Coco’s Bistro “Coco’s Ruby Slipper”
2015 Amber Brady of Lily’s Bistro “Rosemary’s Babee”
2014 Dustin Wade of Meadowlark “The Root of All Evil”