Bartender of the Year Chicago Finalist Kicks Off New Virtual Competition Format

— November 5, 2020

Heaven Hill Brands, announce fifth finalist for 2020 “Bartender of the Year”

BARDSTOWN, KY – David Mor, Beverage Consultant and Founder of SPILL, was announced as the Heaven Hill Brands and Chicago finalist for the 2020 Bartender of the Year Competition, winning $1,000.

The remainder of the 2020 Bartender of the Year semifinal competitions transitioned to a virtual format beginning with the Chicago regional. Competitors presented their drinks via live video stream and engaged in a Q&A period with the judges. The new format ensured competitors were still judged on the full breadth of hospitality expertise while also engaging directly with the judges. The virtual competition also ensured participants had the opportunity to learn from and interact with top industry experts while utilizing their craft during this difficult time.

Mor crafted the “Butch Queen” inspired by the ‘complex and thoughtful, yet approachable and fun’ aspects of the art of drag and how those parallel with his thoughts on the potential within the hospitality industry. Mor showcased this bold, rich flavor using Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey and Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur (see recipe at end of release).

“Butch Queen is a cocktail that I feel perfectly represents what I want hospitality to be more like. Drag queens possess an ability to feature and perform the multiple facets of the human condition. And isn’t that what a great drink should do?  Shouldn’t it be multi-faceted and provide truth to a spirit or ingredient?” said Mor. “As bartenders, we are in drag, whether we realize it or not.  We are a performative expression of ourselves, making great drinks for curious audience members. Butch Queen is a true representation of what inspires me; utilizing Rittenhouse Rye and Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur as the foundation of it, not only brings the drink to life, but provides it with all the power to pizazz.”

Lance Bowman, Beverage Director for Pilsen Yards and The Alderman in Chicago, won second place and $500. Mor and Bowman were joined by four other semifinalists as they competed virtually Thursday, Oct. 22. The three national Bartender of the Year judges completed the panel: Lynn House, National Spirits Specialist and Portfolio Mixologist for Heaven Hill Brands, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Author and Bar Manager of Clyde Tavern, and Joaquín Simó, Owner/Bartender of Pouring Ribbons. Contestants’ skills and cocktails were scored on flavor, appearance, presentation, technical skills, use of sponsor brands, and adherence to judges’ guidelines.

More than 1,150 original cocktail recipes were submitted online nationwide beginning Sept. 15, 2019. Preliminary entries required two original cocktail recipes, one rendition of a classic recipe, and one relating to an inspiration, along with a short description of how the cocktail represents a deep inspiration to their life. The top contestant from each region will go on to vie for the title of Bartender of the Year.

Grounded in the original Bartender of the Year Competition hosted by Domaine de Canton starting in 2009, Heaven Hill Brands resurrected the competition in 2016 due to strong demand from bartenders worldwide and with a goal of supporting growth, education and awareness in the bartending community. Justin Ware of Night Shift in Houston was the 2019 Bartender of the Year and joined the ranks of esteemed past winners: Harrison Ginsberg was named Bartender of the Year in 2018, Nathan O’Neill was named Bartender of the Year in 2017, and Abigail Gullo won the inaugural competition in 2016. Visit the official competition website at for complete competition details.

Butch Queen
Crafted by David Mor


  • Rittenhouse Rye (1.5 ounces)
  • Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur (.5 ounces)
  • Lustau Oloroso Sherry (.5 ounces)
  • Taro Root Juice (.5 ounces)
  • Cinnamon Syrup (.5 ounces)
  • Meyer Lemon Juice (.75 ounces)
  • Roasted Banana-Steeped Coconut Milk (1.5 ounces)

Taro Root Juice:  Peel fresh taro root and juice through extractor.

Cinnamon Syrup:  Steep cracked cinnamon sticks in hot water for 1 hour and combine in a 2:1 ratio of granulated sugar to water until fully dissolved.

Roasted Banana-Steeped Coconut Milk:  Roast whole, peeled bananas in oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Steep roasted bananas in coconut milk for 2 hours at room temperature and fine-strain through chinois (lightly press bananas for more extraction).

Shake and strain to serve in a footed chalice over crushed ice with a whole lot of extra garnish – Mint Crowns, Cinnamon Sticks, Flowers, Manicured Ginger.

ABOUT HEAVEN HILL BRANDS: Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY -based Heaven Hill Brands ( is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny, and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Rittenhouse Rye Whisky; Deep Eddy and Burnett’s Vodkas; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; Black Velvet Canadian Whisky; Lunazul Tequila; The Christian Brothers Brandies; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur.


Lauren Cherry
Heaven Hill Brands
(502) 413-0217

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