To celebrate the Stoli Key West Classic, we're treating one lucky fan to a FREE three night stay at Island House Resort - the #1 resort for gay men.
Our good friend Patrik Gallineaux, the LGBT ambassador for Stoli, gave us the inside scoop on the contest and the Floridian resort of your dreams.
Enter for your chance to win! Contest ends May 5.
First off, what is the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic?
Now in its fourth year, The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is the world’s largest LGBT bartender competition and show, celebrating the legacy of gay bars as original community centers and safe spaces and the bar stars today who keep them fun and fabulous. This year we travel to 18 cities including Key West, to which 17 bartenders win a 6 day trip for the SKWCC Pride Week Finale, June 7-13th. The National Champion wins 12.5K for charity, title of Honorary Grand Marshall of Key West Pride 2017, trophy, sash, a hometown victory celebration, and a trip somewhere in the world in the year of their reign (last year’s winner Rocky Collins received a trip to Ibiza, Spain!).
What goes into the judging process? What do you look (or taste) for in a winning cocktail?
Each event consists of a panel of celebrity judges including the reigning city champion, a local media or nightlife personality, and a spirits expert. Also, included are 100 members of the audience, who by RSVP’ing to attend receive a wristband to sample all cocktails and cast one vote for their favourite. Unlike other bartender competitions, only half the score (30 points per judge) is toward making an exceptional Stoli cocktail which is judged on appearance, aroma, balance, and taste; the other half (30 points) is toward the bartender him/herself, and these points are awards toward concept/theme, knowledge of Key West, knowledge of Stoli, and creativity/showmanship.
Describe one of the more impressive cocktails you've tried/heard of.
There have been SO MANY impressive cocktails the past 3 years of the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic!!!! Our year two winner Matthew Mello from San Francisco really stood out with his garnishes-during the finale he created a dolphin out of a banana for each of his “Forbidden Fruit” Stoli cocktails, one of the most beautiful garnishes I have ever seen. Year one winner Sean Fitzpatrick of Provincetown probably created one of the most memorable cocktails with his “Bone Island Fizz”, served in hollowed out pineapples and created with Stoli Citros and a recipe including pineapple and ginger. There were pyrotechnics, compressed air guns, and a huge infusion of Sean’s own special energy—an amazing way to close year one of the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic.
I saw you were with our Trophy Boy contest winner Nick Mascardo at Miami Pride as well as the NOLA competition. What are your thoughts on him? Tell me about when you first met.
I first met Nick in February in Los Angeles during the finals of the Andrew Christian 2017 Trophy Boy Model Search presented by Stoli. Nick was one of four truly exceptional guys who had made it to the top four, and I had the opportunity to spend a few days getting to know Nick and the guys as they participated in a week of photo and video shoots, interviews, and challenges. It is no surprise Nick ultimately won the title of 2017 Andrew Christian Trophy Boy as he is not just an exceptional glitter-bomb of energy but also a really smart guy with a strong ability to learn and ability to excel professionally within LGBT nightlife.
Andrew Christian holds its models to high standards as does Stoli, and I was very happy to give Nick a shot at joining our tea of Stoli Guys recently at Miami Pride 2017. Nick absolutely killed it, keeping up with me every step of the way and demonstrating that there seems to be pretty much nothing he cannot do! In just one week he was able to help bring to life the Miami stop of the Key West Cocktail Classic, learn quickly choreography and then perform on the mainstage with Stoli Girl and chart-topping dance diva Kym Sims, appear with me on the Six on the Mix morning show, work the Miami Pride festival and events including the Pride parade, and all the while maintaining a positive, problem-solving attitude. Needless to say, in addition to Andrew Christian Trophy Boy, Nick has now won the title of official Stoli Guy-and not many people can win both!
Another one of our models Cory Zwierzynski won the Los Angeles chapter of the Key West contest - what are your thoughts on him/his cocktail?
Quite frankly, Cory surprised me. I have known Cory for a few years, and he has been one of my favourite Andrew Christian models as he is a really great guy, and loveably goofy in the best possible way. When I heard over a year ago he began bartending at The Abbey I really was a little surprised as I was not aware he had bartending experience, and I know The Abbey has high standards, as well. But fast forward to this year, and Cory has certainly proven he is much more than a pretty face! This year’s competition in Los Angeles was FIERCE, and Cory really had to fight for his victory; before the competition I witnessed him putting painstaking effort into preparation for his Stoli Citros “Marjuca” as he was scooping seeds out of passion fruit and clearly serious about his presentation. I had the chance to try his “Marjuca” and it was one of the most well-balanced and delicious Stoli cocktails I have ever tried.
Trust me, with Cory in Key West this year for the June 7-12th Pride Week Finale things are going to be a little more interesting-any time an Andrew Christian model (or two) gets involved, I recommend immediately buckling your seat belts!!!!!!!!!