As many of you know, every Tuesday night at Prairie Fire we
invite a guest behind the bar to raise tips for a charity of their choice. Our in-house mixologist, Dan Sviland coordinates with our guest bartender to make a special cocktail for the evening
and we put some food together that pairs with the drink. So charity and alcohol
and food in one night--always a good time. But never have we embarked on
something like this ...
We've taken the idea of the guest bartender to a
level. Simply put, we're hosting our first ever guest bartender contest at
Prairie Fire. And just like with our fundraisers, there's no need for super
savvy bar skills to be a part of this. The major prerequisite would be that you
need to be able to have some fun! That's what this comes down to really: Will the cocktail lovers of this city, that
if given the chance to put their own drinks together, lined up with other
cocktail lovers toe to toe, step up and deliver a great competition? So ask
yourself, Do you have it in you? Do you have the guts to put your best stuff on
Because if you're not sure--well, we've raised the stakes a
To start, we've broken the contest down to two rounds.
First, we ask is that you create an original cocktail using at least one local
ingredient. "Local" means anything in the Midwest. If you
want to use Death's Door vodka, that's local. But maybe you want to go a different
route and try a beer cocktail. What's to
stop you from using Metropolitan, or Half-Acre, or Three Floyds? And then
there's the bounty of Green City Market. Get creative using this season's
harvest -- now that's fun. The right
combination of originality, with a touch of practicality, will more than likely
be the best path to follow if you want to win.
And once you've made your cocktail there are two things
you'll need to do to jump in on the contest action:
1) Become a fan of Prairie Fire on Facebook so we know how to contact you.
2) Take a picture of your cocktail, the closer, the better,
we're looking for a picture that really shows off your drink.
3) Submit that picture to the wall of Prairie Fire's
Facebook page. Include with the post of your picture a brief
description of the drink and the story behind it, the recipe, and your twitter
This phase of the contest begins December 1 and runs through
December 10. That's plenty of time to really iron out a well-thought out drink,
so don't rush through this. Really put some thought behind what you're doing.
Because once December 10 rolls around, we'll be calling on the help of
mixologist Adam Seger to
guest judge the drinks along with Prairie Fire's Chef Sarah Stegner, Chef George Bumbaris and own mixologist Daniel
Sviland. They will narrow the
submissions down to two finalists.
Those two finalists will then be invited to Prairie Fire on
the night of December 14, where they'll duel
it out behind the bar, side by side in battle. Joining us that night will
be representatives of Share Our Strength,
the non-profit charity whose mission is to end childhood hunger by 2015. They are also the host of the annual Taste of
the Nation Bash. Proceeds from the night will benefit Share Our Strength, and how much
will be depends on just how good our two bartenders will be, and how many
friends they have! They'll pour out
their winning cocktails and whoever raises the most tips between the two at the
end of the night is our winner.
Each finalist and 3 friends will be invited to enjoy dinner on us after the
The winner will appear with Sarah and George at Green City
Market on December 22 for a live demo, and then be invited back to the
restaurant to be Guest Bartender with the spotlight solely on him or her, and
to benefit a charity of his or her own choosing.
We have a few tricks up our sleeve along the way, too.
30 Sarah will make a guest appearance with Gaztro-Wagon, where she'll
have a Prairie Fire naanwich for sale only that day. We've got a little
something in the works with this, and let's just say five people with enough
wits about them will be taking home dinner for two at Prairie Fire as a side to
30, the contest's guest judge and Hum's own Adam Seger will be guest
bartending at Prairie Fire, serving the Hum Punch that Dan's shown us in the
Green City Market's own Sarah Gasbarra will be behind the
bar on December 7, and anyone with a keen eye for local ingredients could
greatly benefit from a night with Sara.
And there just might be a TV appearance on a Chicago morning show
popping up in there, too...
In the meantime, you'll want to "like" us on
and also keep a close watch on both the Prairie Chefs Blog
and our twitter handles: @sarahstegner and @danielsviland.
You never know where you might get some useful tips for this contest, but these
outlets would be a good place to start.
Needless to say, we're doing a bit more here than just some
little ol' contest. Thousands of
children will go to bed hungry this Christmas, and we are inspired by the work
Share Our Strength has done with their recently launched No Kid Hungry
campaign. We are thrilled for a chance to contribute to their efforts.
We've rolled out a stellar lineup of Chicago's best to
launch this with us, so we can only hope that all of you will prove us right in
thinking that the cocktail drinkers in this city can do a lot more than just
sit on the bar stool and make small talk with the bar keep. Are we right?