An Amateur At The Highwood Bloody Mary Fest: I Beat Some Of The Professionals

I make a good bloody mary mix.

Or so I've been told.

After years of hearing how good my mix was I decided to find a contest and see how my recipe would stack up against the competition.

Enter the Highwood Bloody Mary Fest.

As the only amateur in a field of 14---all of whom had tents and were serving at the event---I was pretty nervous.  I was under the mistaken assumption that I'd be competing against other amateurs and not people who did this for a living.

I mean, c'mon---these folks are professional mixologist and bartenders.  I have a mix that I make in my kitchen.  Wouldn't you find that intimidating?

Plus I had to bring everything with me from the south side AND set up a station to prep my drinks.

Because of Lake County health department and State of Illinois laws, I wasn't permitted to serve to the public and could only enter the judge's competition.

It was a tremendous amount of effort on top of making my mix and preparing my garnishes.  Thank God city friend Colleen Dugan was available to schlep me out to the 'burbs and college friends Jessica Gardner and Chris Bellios were there to help .  I literally couldn't have done it without them.

Despite the fact I make an amazing mix, I didn't win in the judge's competition.

But out a field of 14, I did come in eighth.

I placed ahead of six folks (or restaurants) who do this for a living.  You've got to admit that is pretty impressive for someone who doesn't do this everyday.

I can tell you that my fellow competitors brought their "A" game.

I knew I wasn't going to win when I saw a bloody mary garnished with a crab.

A freaking crab.

To check out more photos of the event, click here.

I have no idea what I'm going to do for next year but I better start thinking of ideas now.



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