The National Restaurant Association invites professional and amateur mixologists to go head to head and see who can create the nation’s most creative cocktail for the Star of the Bar title and $5,000 cash prize at the 2012 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB).

Held at its new dates May 6-7, 2012, in Chicago’s McCormick Place, IWSB is the only forum in the world focused exclusively on the role of beverage alcohol in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“The Star of the Bar mixology competition provides a great opportunity for mixologists to see who can create the most modern, inventive, and marketable cocktail of the year,” says Jack Crawford, convention chair for NRA Show 2012 and president and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC. “Whether you’re a head mixologist at the hottest spot in town or simply an alcohol artist, you just might be the next Star of the Bar.”

Interested individuals who would like a shot at the title, $5,000, and a trip to Chicago to demonstrate their skills at IWSB should complete the following:

  • Perfect a signature cocktail recipe that prominently features at least one product from an IWSB exhibitor.
  • Create a video no more than two minutes long describing and mixing the drink and upload it to YouTube.
  • Submit the entry form online by April 6, 2012, including a link to the video in the written recipe section. 


Voting will take place at from April 9-11. Six semi-finalists will be flown to Chicago to demonstrate their cocktail live on the exhibit floor in front of top food and beverage industry leaders at IWSB on Sunday, May 6, 2012.

IWSB attendees will help narrow the field down to the top three finalists, who will then advance to the final round of live competition to be judged by Tony Abou-Ganim, “The Master Mixologist”; “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff; and Bravo’s Top Chef superstar Spike Mendelsohn at Restaurants Rock, the official party of the NRA Show and IWSB.

All proceeds will benefit ProStart, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s high-school culinary training program. 

Now celebrating its 5th year, the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event—co-located with NRA Show 2012—is the only forum in the world focused exclusively on the role of beverage alcohol in the restaurant and hospitality industry. IWSB features domestic and international brewers, distillers, and vintners showcasing hundreds of established and emerging labels; beverage alcohol-focused, industry expert-led education sessions; hands-on demonstrations; dynamic mixology competition; and access to professionally paired menu items from local Chicago restaurants. 

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2012 will be held at its new dates, May 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Beverage, Industry News