2020 Winners: Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders

BY: Lisa Seibert
last updated 03/10/2020
2020 Winners: Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders

Hundreds of guests filled the venue, eager to taste their way through the evening and cast their votes. But who won?

2020 Winners: Buckeye Vodka Battle of the Bartenders

2020 Battle of the Bartenders Winning Cocktails

The 7th Annual Buckeye Battle of the Bartenders was held in Downtown Dayton’s Steam Plant where fourteen local restaurants came to battle.

This is a super fun event. The bartenders and chefs spend a lot of time preparing for the competition and take much pride in their offerings. Even the names of the cocktails are unique and creative. In the early years of the competition, we saw multiple peanut butter chocolate concoctions. Over time as the competition stiffens, we see more complex offerings, with several bartenders infusing their vodka with a variety of flavors in addition to making their own syrups and mixers.

Each restaurant has a chance to present their offerings and explain their inspiration, process, and the ingredients in their cocktail and complimentary food item. “Edith & Archie”, “Dragon Blurr”, and “Black Fig Taverntini” were just a few of the drinks that didn’t win.

Let me take a moment to mention a couple of food items that did not win the best pairing award. The Calypso Pork Belly with Island Slaw from Calypso Grill was amazing. I hope the Salvadorian Papusa, a grilled flat cornbread stuffed with beans and cheese, topped with spicy cabbage from El Meson is a regular menu item. I’ll definitely seek them out on my next visit.

Winds Cafe won Best Drink with Gold BloodedWho Won Best Drink?

The Winds Café in Yellow Springs took home the coveted Best Cocktail Trophy for “Gold Blooded”. A sophisticated sipper, this cocktail featured lemon-infused Buckeye Vodka, beet, blood orange, carrot, and apple juices along with a few other ingredients. This was a hands-down winner at the judge's table.

Meadowlark came in 2nd place with An Apple A DayThis year’s 2nd place winning entry, called "An Apple A Day" came from Caroline Porter, last year’s champion from Meadowlark, By infusing Buckeye Vodka with apple, rosemary, and lemon, creating her own rosemary simple syrup, adding a few more ingredients, and garnishing with an apple slice and sprig of rosemary Caroline secured a spot in the top three.

This year’s most dramatic entry came from El Meson. Bill Castro won the trophy in 2017 and produced “Pink Pomelo Martini” (see video) this year. Buckeye Vodka, red peppercorn infused simple syrup and fresh pomelo juice. Dry ice added drama in the form of free-flowing fog! 

Who Won Best Pairing?

Meadowlark paired “An Apple A Day” with Pimento Cheese and Smoked Sausage on a cracker. Expertly matched, the crisp cocktail complimented the savory smoked sausage and pimento cheese perfectly.

Roost won the Peoples Choice with An Kyoto SunsetWho Won the People’s Choice?

Roost Modern Italian’s "Kyoto Sunset" cocktail paired with Meatballs with Tomatillo and Mint Coulis, Persian Cucumber & Pickled Shallots.

Whether you enjoyed The Buckeye Battle of the Bartenders or missed it, you’ll want to get your tickets for the first Buckeye Vodka Let’s Get Brunched Wednesday, April 22nd.  I’ll see you there.

Past Battle Winners:

  • 2019 Champion: Meadowlark Caroline Porter “Dutchess of Earl”
  • 2018 Brock of Wheat Penny ” Merchant’s Wife”
  • 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”

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