A well-known metro Atlanta bartender recently took home $10,000 for doing what he’s good at — making delicious cocktails.
Jeff Banks of C. Ellet’s Steakhouse was one of six Southeastern bartenders who competed in the inaugural Bar Fight! competition on Aug. 14. His winning cocktail, “Mr. Miyagi,” incorporated Asian-inspired ingredients with a rice-based vodka, a press release said.
The contenders were chosen from entries based on “recipes that possess a high level of creativity, taste and technique,” a press release said. One semifinalist was from South Carolina — Mikey Gordon from Wholly Smokin’ Downtown in Florence — and the rest were from North Carolina: Jorge Diaz from AC Hotels in Asheville, Lisa Lauck from C. Grace Cocktail Bar in Raleigh, Louise Calhoun from Mothers & Sons Trattoria in Durham and Colleen Hughes from Haberdish in Charlotte.
The first round of the competition was The Brunch Battle, where the contestants made two cocktails that included three secret ingredients. This single elimination round determined the three finalists to compete in the three-round Main Event, which opened to the public from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Fairmont in West Midtown.
In addition to the prize money, Banks won the title of “Undisputed Champion” and a championship belt.
Tickets were $40 per person, and guests got unlimited Bedlam cocktails, appetizers, swag and a vote to crown the People’s Champ after sampling the drinks. Additional votes could be purchased for $5 each or five for $20.
The event was hosted by Bedlam Vodka, a rice-based vodka produced by Durham, North Carolina-based Graybeard Distillery. It was inspired by a family recipe that originated in Bedlam, Ireland. Founders Brandon Evans, Sam Searcy, Ron Templeton, Scott Russ and Brad Evans launched the brand in 2016.
All proceeds from the event benefited Make-A-Wish organizations from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, a press release said.