The restaurant’s bar manager, Nick Kokonas, on Thursday won the cocktail contest at the Columbia event, billed as the biggest American whiskey-themed gathering in the Southeast. Kokonas was selected to participate in the competition after submitting the recipe for his “Battalion Three,” a mix of bourbon, mezcal, sweet vermouth and mole.
Kokonas and two other bartenders competed against Josh Streetman of Columbia’s Motor Supply Company, who last year won the title. Craig Nelson of Proof, who has twice won the same contest, joined two brand ambassadors and a Columbia-based bartender to judge the entries.
In recognition of his win, Kokonas received $500, a trophy and a gift basket.
"It feels really amazing for my drink to be chosen out of such a talented lineup by such an incredibly respected group of judges," Kokonas says.