Bartender of the Year New York Finalist Draws Flavors from Legacy of Hospitality

— May 2, 2018

Heaven Hill Brands, announce last finalist for 2018 “Bartender of the Year”

Harrison Ginsberg crafts unforgettable experiences as an ode to his grandfather. Announced today as the Heaven Hill Brands and New York finalist for the 2018 Bartender of the Year Competition, Ginsberg won first place, $1,000 and a trip to the finals at The Lodge on Sea Island, Ga.

“In 1947 Sid Sinetar, my grandfather, opened his first movie theater in Long Beach, Long Island,” said Ginsberg, bartender at The Dead Rabbit New York. “My grandfather didn’t teach me hospitality, he showed me; he taught me humility, patience, respect, but most of all he showed me the personal joy in looking after people and providing them with an unforgettable experience. The Double Feature is an ode to my grandfather and the man that he made me, a testament to the legacy of hospitality.”

Leanne Favre of Brooklyn won second place and $500. Six semifinalists competed regionally in New York on Sunday, April 29 at The Shanty. Bartenders competed in two rounds, first mixing the family-inspired cocktail from their preliminary submission, then creating an original cocktail fit for the menu of the host bar using at least 1.5 ounces of total of Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, or Rittenhouse Rye Whisky. Contestants and judges were then invited to a family dinner at Leuca where Dave Arnold, author of Liquid Intelligence: The Art & Science of the Perfect Cocktail, and Don Lee, designer and educator at Cocktail Kingdom, led a discussion on collaborating with colleagues, the relationship between sugars and acids, and the science of well-balanced cocktails, before the winner was announced.

National Brand Educator for Heaven Hill Brands Lynn House, Partner at Alchemy Consulting and Owner/Bartender of Pouring Ribbons Joaquín Simó, Co-Founder of New York Distilling Company Allen Katz, and Nathan O’Neill, the 2017 Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year winner and Head Bartender at Nomad Bar, judged the semifinalists’ cocktails and chose one finalist based on highest scores. Contestant skills and cocktails were scored on flavor, appearance, presentation, technical skills, use of sponsor brands, and adherence to judges’ guidelines.

More than 1,000 original cocktail recipes were submitted online nationwide beginning September 15, 2017. Preliminary entries required two original cocktail recipes, one rendition of a classic recipe, and one relating to family along with a short description of how the cocktail was inspired by their interpretation of family. The top contestant from each region will go on to vie for the title of Bartender of the Year and $15,000 at The Lodge on Sea Island, Ga. in June 2018. Finalists will be challenged on their full range of skills as hospitality professionals. Judges will be looking for the ultimate bartender who displays the total breadth and aptitude all bartenders aspire to embody.

Grounded in the original Bartender of the Year Competition hosted by Domaine de Canton starting in 2009, Heaven Hill Brands resurrected the competition due to strong demand from bartenders worldwide. Nathan O’Neill from the Nomad Bar in New York City was named Bartender of the Year in 2017, and Abigail Gullo of Compere Lapin in New Orleans won the inaugural competition in 2016. Visit the official competition website at for complete competition details.

Double Feature – Inspired by the concept of family
Crafted by Harrison Ginsburg


Rittenhouse Rye (1.5 ounce(s))
Spanish Brandy (.5 ounce(s))
Cold Brew Coffee Syrup 2:1 (.25 ounce(s))
Barolo Chinato (.25 ounce(s))
Walnut Liqueur (6 dash(es))
Absinthe (1 dash(es))
Angostura Bitters (1 dash(es)) Stirred, and strained over cube.
Add all ingredients into a mixing tin/Glass. Stir cocktail 40 rotations until cold and properly diluted. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass with block ice. Garnish with a twist of orange. Serve.

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