Joshua James of Clever Koi pours his final drinks at the end of the second battle round of last year's competition.
Joshua James of Clever Koi pours his final drinks at the end of the second battle round of last year's competition.
Evie Carpenter

Here Are the Finalists for the Devoured Bartending Competition on Sunday, March 1

On Sunday, March 1 cocktail enthusiasts will want to be at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix to see some of the city's top bartenders compete in a boozy throwdown of skill featuring locally-made spirits.

The finalists who will compete in the sixth annual Devoured Bartending Competition have just been announced and though you might know some of the names featured in this year's event, there's also a good chance you'll be seeing some new faces on the stage.

See also: 23 Food and Drink Festivals in Metro Phoenix: Winter/Spring 2015

This year's competitors, half of whom were selected through online voting, include bartenders from some of the same places represented last year. Windsor, Maizie's Café & Bistro, and Citizen Public House will all be showing up to compete again this year, though the faces representing the restaurants are new to competition across the board.

Here's the list of competitors:

  • Lyndsi Hastings-Mundy of Culinary Dropout
  • Michael Soo of Crudo
  • Andrew Gilchrist of Hula's Modern Tiki
  • Titus Fontleroy of St. Francis
  • Libby Longlott of The Parlor Pizzeria
  • Matt Farrow of Windsor
  • Tawni Koonz of Maizie's Café & Bistro
  • Brandon Casey of Citizen Public House
  • Shawn Gabor of Pink Pony

You may remember the name Michael Soo from back in August, when the Bar Crudo bartender won the world Mai Tai competition in Kona, Hawaii. Soo was the first mainlander to win at the event since it started in 2009 and took home serious bragging rights -- as well as a $10,000 check.

The contestants will go head-to-head in a series of three rounds to take home the title of Best Cocktail of the Valley for 2015. Judges for this year's event include last year's competition winner, Mike Allmandinger of The Parlor Pizzeria, as well as Jessica Hill of Phoenix New Times and Ross Simon with Arizona Cocktail Week.

As at last year's event, the day will feature locally-made craft spirits from Tempe's Arizona Distilling Company. In addition to the distillery's flagship Copper City Bourbon, the event will feature their Desert Dry Gin and their new Copper City Moonshine.

Tickets to the competition, which will be held at Crescent Ballroom on Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m., cost $25 and include 9 cocktail samples and neat samples of the local craft spirits. To purchase tickets visit the Crescent Ballroom website.

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