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Save The Date: Sunday October 23, 2022 1-4pm

    About Set the Bar 2022

    Plans are underway for the return of the in-person Set The Bar Cocktail Competition, to be held Sunday, October 23, 2022 from 1 to 4pm at Ed Smith Stadium. And you'll be able to get the 411 here.

    Designed to showcase the creative beverage talents behind the area’s locally-owned, independent restaurants, this year’s Set The Bar cocktail contention will highlight accomplished mixologists representing establishments from the northern tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern shores of Venice Beach. “The Best” libations will be decided by an expert panel as well as  event attendees who will be tasked with sampling and savoring the contenders' creations before judging the competitors on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination. 

    In addition to exclusive access to the most skilled beverage innovators in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, guests at Set The Bar will enjoy live entertainment, a chance drawing, and light bites presented by fellow Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ Member Restaurants.

    Like the Chefs in the kitchen, our local bartenders are an integral part of today’s service industry, playing a vital role in creating an exciting atmosphere and enjoyable guest experience. We can’t wait to shine the well-deserved light on them.

    Tickets for 2022 Set The Bar Cocktail Competition

    Early Bird Tickets On Sale Tuesday August 23 at 9AM 

    A limited number of Early Bird Set The Bar tickets will be available on Tuesday August 23 at 9am for $65 each. Once those are sold, regular price tickets will be offered at $75 per person. 

    This event is 21 and up only and proof of age will be required for all ticket holders (NO exceptions, this applies to children and infants as well.)

    2021 Set The Bar Mixology Masters

    (Last Year's Winners!)

    The Winner of The Best Overall Cocktail Award for 2021, selected through the People's Choice Voting is Rhiannon Mahon from GROVE Restaurant

    Cocktail: the Grove-Loma
    Ingredients: Hiatus Tequila Blanco infused with Cucumber and Pineapple, Agave, Lime, Mint and Grapefruit Jarritos Float, garnished with a Tajin Dusted Cucumber

    See additional WINNERS below!

    Our 2021 Competition

    “The Best” libations will be decided by an expert panel of judges as well as event attendees who will be tasked with sampling and savoring each creative concoction before judging the competitors on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination. You be the judge!

    Gin Category

    Powered by Waterloo Gin

    2021 Winner: 

    Bartender: Andrea Zahn & Jennifer Bruggemann for El Melvin 

    Cocktail: The Drunken Bird (El Pajaro Barracho)

    Ingredients:  Waterloo Gin No. 9 infused with Cilantro, Dark Brown Sugar & Pineapple Syrup, Lime Juice, Hibiscus Foam and Chipotle & Cacao Bitters

    Tequila Category

    Powered by Hiatus Tequila

    2021 Winner

    Bartender: Rhiannon Mahon for GROVE Restaurant 

    Cocktail: Grove-Loma

    Ingredients: Hiatus Tequila Blanco infused with Cucumber and Pineapple, Agave, Lime, Mint and Grapefruit Jarritos Float, garnished with a Tajin Dusted Cucumber

    Vodka Category

    Powered by New Amsterdam Vodka

    2021 Winner 

    Bartenders: Tobias Halk and Daniel Garcia for Miguel's Restaurant

    Cocktail: Porn Star

    Ingredients: New Amsterdam Vodka infused with Vanilla Bean, Fresh Passion Fruit, Lime Juice, Champagne and Canton Ginger Liqueur

    Whiskey Category

    Powered by Treaty Oak Bourbon Whiskey

    2021 Winner

    Bartender: Anthony Rizzo for Duval's. Fresh. Local. Seafood

    Cocktail: Solar Eclipse

    Ingredients: Treaty Oak “Red Handed” Bourbon washed with Butter Fat and infused with Fresno Chile and Mexican Cinnamon, González Byass "Nectar" Pedro Ximénez Sherry, Housemade Orange-Cocoa Marmalade, Raspberry and Cardamom Bitters

    Rum Category

    Powered by Papa's Pilar Rum

    2021 Winner

    Bartender: Andrea Wilsie for Jack Dusty Restaurant 

    Cocktail: The Gold Daiquiri

    Ingredients: Papa's Pilar Blonde Rum, Yellow Chartreuse, Amaro Montenegro, Lime Juice and Simple Syrup

    Our 2021 Judging Panel

    The Set the Bar expert panel of judges is responsible for selecting the top cocktail in each spirit category. 

    Spencer Taliaferro

    Owner
    Mixology Kits

    Nikki Logan Curran

    Owner & Editor
    The Scout Guide Sarasota

    Joey Panek

    Creative Content Director
    One Eight Oh PR

    Michelle Russell

    Director of Marketing | Creative Director | Events
    Loaded Cannon Distillery

    Joshua Hojnacki

    General Manager, The Gator Club
    Co-Founder, Sarasota Whiskey Society

    Brandon Weppner

    National Brand Manager
    Hiatus Tequila

    2021 Presented Cocktail Creations

    Each competitor must create a signature cocktail with the alcohol from the category they are assigned. Beautiful full-sized cocktails are submitted to the Judging Panel for blind-tasting.

    Local Bites

    Guests at the 2021 Set The Bar Cocktail Competition enjoyed delicious dishes presented by these fellow Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ Member Restaurants. 

    Thanks to our 2021 Set the Bar Sponsors

    Liquor Sponsors

    Beverage Partners

    Special Thanks To

    Interested in becoming a Set the Bar sponsor?  Contact Kim at (941) 365-2800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the available opportunities.

    Follow The Event

    Get social with the Sarasota-Manatee Originals and use the hashtags below to share your photos and experiences during Set the Bar!
    #SetTheBar941    #SetTheBarCocktailWeek941    #EatLikeaLocal941

    Cocktail Competition FAQs

    Is there an age restriction for those attending the Set the Bar Cocktail Competition event?

    Guests must be 21 and up to attend. Those under 21 will NOT be permitted entry to the event (this includes infants and children as well.) Photo identification for proof of age will be requested of ALL GUESTS upon arrival to the event. 

    How can I buy tickets?

    A limited number of Early Bird Set The Bar tickets will be available via SquadUp on Tuesday August 23 at 9am for $65 each. Once those are sold, regular price tickets will be offered at $75 per person.

    Please subscribe here or check this page for updates.

    This event is 21 and up only and proof of age will be required for all ticket holders (NO exceptions, this applies to children and infants as well.)

    Is there a limit on the number of tickets I can purchase?

    No, you may purchase as many tickets as you would like! Please note, your guests will be asked to provide photo ID (to verify their age) before being admitted to the event.

    Is there a discounted ticket for those not partaking in the cocktail samplings?

    There is one ticket type available for the Set the Bar Cocktail Competition, which is the General Admission ticket. No additional ticket types will be avaialble.

    Do I need to bring my tickets to the Set the Bar Cocktail Competition?
    Please bring your tickets in either printed or mobile format. If you have misplaced your event tickets, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request new copies. Set the Bar guests must be 21 and up. Those under 21 will not be permitted entry to the event (this includes infants and children as well.) Photo identification will be requested of EVERY guest upon arrival to the event. 
    Will I be able to sample each of the cocktails in the competition?

    Yes! All guests will be able to sample each of the cocktails submitted into the competition and will have the opportunity to vote for the "People's Choice" winner! Guests will receive a "Sip Card" to be punched at each Cocktail station to ensure that each drink is sampled only once. Each cocktail sample is 1oz in size.

    Please drink responsibly.

    Will food be served at the event?

    Complimentary light bites will be provided by several Sarasota-Manatee Originals restaurant members during the event. For many people, it might makes sense to eat a meal before you come to the event.

    What is the parking situation at Ed Smith Stadium?

    We encourage all event attendees who intend to sample the cocktail offerings to use ride sharing services (such as Uber or Lyft) or travel with a designated driver! The use of ride share services will expedite the arrival experience. For those planning to drive, parking is available in Ed Smith Stadium's East Lot, at the corner of 12th Street and North Tuttle Avenue.

    What should I wear?

    The suggested attire is comfortable and casual.

    How does the voting work?

    “The Best” libations will be decided by an expert panel of judges as well as event attendees who will be tasked with sampling and savoring each creative concoction before judging the competitors on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination.

    Each guest will vote for his or her favorite bartender and cocktail by "tipping" them during the event. The top cocktails and bartenders will be announced at the end of the event!

    What is the Inclement Weather Policy?

    Set the Bar is a rain or shine event. 

    Can I purchase tickets through a third-party seller?

    To have 100% confidence in the validity of your ticket purchase, you should only purchase your tickets through the Squad Up ticket system. The validity of tickets purchased through other websites or resellers cannot be verified by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals prior to event day.

    Will there be seating at the event?

    Several areas offer shaded picnic-style seating for guests to utilize. The event is a cocktail style, grazing event where guests will be visiting stations to sample cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The event is handicap accessible. This event takes place outdoors so there is no air-conditioned areas.

    How do I stay up to date on Set the Bar announcements?

    Follow our SET THE BAR Event page on Facebook for any announcements. Updates will be posted as new information becomes available.

    I have a question that wasn't answered here. Now what?

    Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any remaining event questions.

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    Sarasota-Manatee Originals
    1215D S Tamiami Trail
    Sarasota, FL 34239
    941-365-2800

    The Sarasota-Manatee Originals are proudly supported by Sysco