OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.— Dylan Kemp from Milo at The Ellison claimed the title Cocktail Shakedown Champion by creating an outstanding cocktail using the final championship mystery ingredient: Blue Chair Bay Key Lime Rum Cream. This was the eighth annual Oklahoma Restaurant Association Cocktail Shakedown at the ORA Expo on August 17, 2022.
Kemp was one of several bartenders scoring the highest number of total points in the first and second rounds of the competition, qualifying him to advance and compete in the Championship Round.
Grooving to the beat of the music, Kemp prepared his final concoction in the Championship Round which earned him a $1,000 cash prize, the Grand Champion belt, and a feature in the upcoming quarterly ORA magazine. Avery Callarman of The Jones Assembly also showed his creative talents throughout the day, eventually claiming second place and walking away with a $500 cash prize. Additionally, each competitor received a gift basket full of competition swag provided by Republic National Distributing Co.
“The amazing bartenders who compete always bring personality and creativity to the competition,” said Patti Colley, ORA Chief Strategy Officer. “The Cocktail Shakedown evolves each year, and continues to be a fan favorite and opens the ORA Expo with excitement.”
Kemp and Callarman competed against 6 other Oklahoma bartenders from ORA member restaurants. Each bartender was judged on taste and balance, originality, and drink and stage presentation while utilizing spirits presented by Republic National Distributing Co. Other competing bartenders included Jameson Johns with Flamingo Tiki – OSO Paseo; Spencer Barrett with Palace Restaurant Group; Trevor Callahan with Traditions Spirits; Anthony Milligan with The Social Order Dining Collective; Matthew Chen with Chalk and Thumper Cooper with Spark.
The esteemed judges consisted of industry professionals Jason Ewald with A Good Egg Dining Group, J Mays with Cafe 7 & The Hamilton, Leith Ezell with Traditions Spirits and Jesse Way with the Holloway Restaurant Group.
“What a great industry event,” Colley said. “It couldn’t be made possible without the support and contributions of our many partners who take such interest in advancing the beverage industry.”
The Cocktail Shakedown was presented in partnership with Platinum Partners Coca-Cola, Oklahoma City Convention Visitors Bureau, Republic National Distributing Company, and Traditions Spirits; Gold Partners: GoFresh Produce, Heartland, Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation, and Superior Linen Service; Heat Partners: Chopin Potato Vodka, McQueen & the Violet Fog Gin, Don Q Gran Resera Rum, Gran Centenario Anejo, Four Roses Bourbon, The Glenlivet Founders Reserve, Slane Irish Whiskey, Remy 1738 Cognac; Championship Heat Partner: Blue Chair Bay Key Lime Rum Cream.
Founded in 1933, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association is the trade association of restaurants and foodservice operations, the state's largest private industry employer. Representing more than 4,000 restaurants and members, the ORA actively monitors legislation and regulatory agencies; helps foodservice management develop and strengthen business; and develops the membership to do together for the industry what cannot be done individually.