The Midwest typically produces some of the top competitors in the Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year competition. This year was no different. Skilled bartenders from Illinois, Michigan and Ohio brought their talents to Chicago to battle it out for a spot in the 2017 finals.
The bartenders who gathered at the Chicago SGW space bonded from the start, which says a lot about them, since they were facing off for a free trip to Puerto Rico and a shot at the $15,000 grand prize. This competitive but cordial atmosphere was sustained throughout the evening, with the bartenders agreeing that anyone of them could have won.
That assessment was spot on. The regional finalists were evenly matched, providing one of the closest and most exciting first rounds of the entire competition. Whittling it down to four was next to impossible, but judges Lynn House, Joaquín Simó and Chicago’s own Paul McGee noticed a standout bartender in the second and final round.
Julia Momose was the total package. The little details in her cocktail presentation, along with her engaging manner and ability to control the room, won her the Midwest regional. No doubt she would have done Chicago proud, however she is unable to attend the finals in Puerto Rico.
That means her spot in the finals is going to Matty Eggleston, who finished just behind Momose. It’s a good thing Chicago boasts such a deep field of talented bartenders because Eggleston poses just as much of a threat to earn the $15,000 prize as any other regional winner.
Check in later to see if Matty Eggleston takes home the title of 2017 Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year.