Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: GKCBC


It’s still a buzz seeing something I wrote in print, even 20-odd years on as a journalist. But I’m a perfectionist, so reading my own work can be as frustrating as it is satisfying. In today’s case, it was the realization that I didn’t list all the winners and finalists in my Kansas City Star piece about the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition in August.

Sure, I blogged about it all the day after, but some of those reading the paper might not have been among those who read that entry. So here goes:

1st Valdez Campos, Manifesto/The Rieger, Kansas City

2nd Justin Richardson, The American, Kansas City

3rd Chad George, Demun Oyster Bar, St. Louis

Fan Favorite Tony Beyer, Benton’s Prime Chop House, Kansas City

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Campos Tops 5th GKCBC

The Fifth Annual Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition had it all: inventive cocktails, impressive bartenders, demanding judges and even burlesque. Much of what I’ve gleaned in recent weeks—including plans for a week-long cocktail extravaganza called Paris of the Plains in 2012—will appear in the Kansas City Star on Sept. 7, but so much more will… Continue Reading

Barrel-aged bliss

Talk about barrel aging, and you’re usually talking about brown spirits like bourbon or Scotch, or just as likely wine. But at Extra Virgin in the Crossroads, it’s all about the cocktails. Manhattans, Negronis and even Sidecars—bartender Berto Santoro’s been making them by the barrel-full. Why? Because barrel aging does much the same thing to… Continue Reading

An antidote to summer boredom

Bored with the dog days of summer? I’ve got your antidote below. Go to one, go to all. You won’t be sorry. Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition on Aug. 21. THE best cocktail event in the Midwest. The finalists have been announced. Come taste their creations, party in the lounge and watch the pros shake… Continue Reading

The GKCBC’s Lucky 13

The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition has announced its Lucky 13—the thirteen bartenders who will on Aug. 21 to compete for the Midwest’s premier bartending title. Of course, it’s not all luck. Each of these pros has already created a unique cocktail; next, they must batch it for the event’s tasting room (which means you,… Continue Reading

Bartender battle is on!

The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition returns to The Uptown on Aug. 21. A dozen of the region’s best bartenders will battle it out onstage, in front of what has been in years past a happily raucous crowd. Each must prepare an original cocktail for a panel of judges (including Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail),… Continue Reading

At the Bar: Benton’s

I have to start by admitting I’ve never ordered a drink at Benton’s Prime Steakhouse, at the top of the Westin Crown Center. But Tony Beyer, the lounge’s regular (and usually only) bartender, is an enthusiastic and generous guy, though, so I stopped by recently for a chat. Beyer’s no stranger to this business. To… Continue Reading

At the Bar: Tavern in the Village

What’s the best way to inject fun into a meeting? Hold it at a bar, of course. It certainly worked during a planning session for Turning Point’s 10th Annual An Evening Among Friends, recently convened at Tavern in the Village. It was fitting—the June 24 event is billed as The Art of the Cocktail. So… Continue Reading

Meeting Mezcal

Mezcal. I’d read about it, but never given it much thought. Even after Doug Frost opined about its smokey richness back in, oh, 2007 or so. Even after Saveur published a killer article about it in 2009. Even after Ryan Maybee stocked Manifesto’s bar with it, and Beau Williams earned second place with his mezcal-based… Continue Reading

Shakedown winner: Arturo Vera-Felicie

We all know Arturo Vera-Felicie is a good bartender. Now the folks at Sazerac do, too. Vera’s Chambeli Cocktail topped The Gran Gala Shakedown, adding another title to his resume and earning him $5,000. Vera’s drink combines Gran Gala, Aperol, gin, bitters and lemon juice for a balanced and subtle drink that wowed judges like… Continue Reading