The National Restaurant Association announced Kristo Tomingas of New York’s Mayahuel Mariposa as the 2018 Star of the Bar, a national mixology competition held live on the BAR Mainstage at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. In addition to bragging rights as this year’s “Star of the Bar,” Tomingas was presented with a $5,000 prize for his Pine & Passion cocktail. Ahead of the competition, Tomingas created a video cocktail ode to New York City, available online here.

The Star of the Bar finals featured an all-star panel of judges, including Tony Abou-Ganim, author of the Modern Mixologist; “Bar Rescue” expert Elayne Duff; Dale DeGroff, author and “King of The Cocktails”; and “World’s Best Bartender” champion Agostino Perrone. Charles Joly of Crafthouse Cocktails served as emcee for the competition.

The winning cocktail—Pine & Passion—features mezcal as its base spirit with pineapple, lemon, and passionfruit juices. In lieu of egg whites, Tomingas used aquafaba to give the cocktail frothiness; the cocktail is finished with orange oil and garnished with orange peel and green leaves. “I drew inspiration from the classic sour cocktails,” says Tomingas. “Pineapple is used to give the foam a special kick and the smoky taste of mezcal creates a compelling flavor profile.”

Presented by the National Restaurant Association and United States Bartenders’ Guild, Star of the Bar tasked competitors in four culinary cities—Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Chicago —with creating an innovative cocktail for local judges. The six finalists were flown to Chicago to face-off on stage during the National Restaurant Association Show.

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