Set the Bar to Shake up April

Things To Do

Pictured: Geoff from Harry's Continental Kitchens at a previous Set the Bar. The competition is fierce, with most winners from last year returning to defend their titles. Photo Courtesy of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals.

On April 14, the Set the Bar Cocktail Competition returns to Sarasota for its sixth year. This exciting event, run by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals and hosted at Ed Smith Stadium, is a must-attend if you love the art of making, or drinking, creative cocktails.

“I like to talk about the Food Network and things like that, where there was that shift when chefs became celebrities, and they were taken out of their kitchens and put on stage,” says Liza Kubik, who does marketing and communications for the Sarasota-Manatee Originals. “People love to learn about the people who are making their food. We were of course aware that the people behind the bar were as integral to the success of a restaurant in many cases as sort of the chefs of the bar. They were doing some very innovative, delicious and beautiful things, so we wanted to provide a platform for these artists to be showcased, and we made it a very fun and playful platform.”

The event will feature 25 mixologists from restaurants that are part of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals competing in five spirit categories, each with a five-ingredient limit. The restaurants are given several weeks to prepare the cocktail they will feature, and those that have previously participated are challenging themselves to use a different spirit than the one they highlighted at the last Set the Bar in their cocktails. The cocktail’s identity is top secret until the event, where guests and judges will sample them. A panel of expert judges will blindly evaluate each drink’s flavor, appearance, bartender presentation and imagination, and Clive Daniel Home will judge the eateries on the best tablescape at each of their stations.

Attendees will be given a punch card, which acts as a passport that helps them keep track of which cocktails they’ve tried. They can vote for the People’s Choice Award using a stub that they detach from the card, and observe how their tastes match up with those of the judges. An auction and raffle of tickets for the 2025 edition of Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival, another Original’s event, will be available and will benefit Children First. Guests will also enjoy live music and entertainment, as well as light bites from Original’s restaurants. “It’s fun and engaging,” Kubik adds, “and the guests are not simply observers.”

Set the Bar, April 14 from 4-7pm, Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit eatlikealocal.com/events/setthebar.

Pictured: Geoff from Harry's Continental Kitchens at a previous Set the Bar. The competition is fierce, with most winners from last year returning to defend their titles. Photo Courtesy of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals.

Sarasota-Manatee Originals

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