The competition was stiff and the drinks were strong at Nellie's Sports Bar on Monday evening for the regional showdown of the Stoli Original Key West Cocktail Classic, sponsored by Stolichnaya Vodka in partnership with the Key West Business Guild.. Four D.C. area bartenders representing Nellie's, Larry's Lounge and D.I.K. Bar vied for a chance to win a free trip to Key West, Fla., to compete for the title of Stoli Original Key West Cocktail Champion 2014.
Tommy Honeycutt, a bartender at Nellie's. was named the D.C. winner by the panel of judges that include Stoli's national LGBT brand ambassador Patrik Gallineaux, Senior Vice-President for Stoli USA Lori Tieszen, and D.C. radio host Houston. Honeycutt's cocktail named "The Summer Boyfriend," was a mix of Stoli Original Vodka, fresh strawberries, and sparking wine.
As the regional winner, Honeycutt will now travel to Key West for a weekend stay at Island House Key West resort or one of the island's many other LGBT friendly guesthouses and compete against 11 other regional winners from across the U.S. in a final competition on Sat., May 31. Part of Key West's famed Duval will be shut to traffic on the blocks outside the street’s LGBT nightlife venues and businesses including Bourbon Street Pub and Aqua for the Stoli Original Key West Cocktail Challenge Finale Block Party. On a specially constructed stage hosted by Gallineaux, finalists will present their winning cocktails for a panel of celebrity judges.
The celebrity judging panel will include star of the former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” TV series Jai Rodriguez, clothing designer Andrew Christian, legendary funnyman Bruce Vilanch, Senior Vice-President for Stoli USA Lori Tieszen, and Key West drag personality and star of the city's internationally televised annual New Year’s Eve high heel drop Sushi.
In addition to being named the champion, the winner will receive a bartender “dream library” of 50 hand-selected essential trade books, the opportunity to design the signature Stoli Original cocktail menu for the national LGBT program Stoli Guy 2014, and $5000 for the winner’s pre-selected LGBT-friendly charity of choice.
The finale party is open to the public, and Key West tourism officials are encouraging visitors to attend the competition as well as to enjoy the island's attractions. As part of the promotions for the competition, American Airlines is offering a special 5% discount for flights to Key West. To receive the discount, tickets must be booked at aa.com, using the promotion code 8154DF. The code is valid for travel between May 26 and June 4, to allow visitors to enjoy the Key West before and after the finale.