Matt Farkas wins Vermont Bartender of the Year competition

The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing is pleased to announce that Matt Farkas is the winner of the 2016 Bartender of the Year contest

Farkas is a bartender at Mule Bar in Winooski

Matt Farkas wins Vermont Bartender of the Year competitionThe competition was held Tuesday night at Killington Resort’s K1 Base Lodge. The Bartender of the Year contest kicked off the annual Vermont Tourism Summit (formerly the Vermont Travel Industry Conference), a two-day industry conference taking place Wednesday and Thursday at Killington Resort.

The winning drink created by Farkas is called “A Father’s Son,” a beverage that combines Smugglers’ Notch Litigation Wheat Whiskey, Campari Italian bitters, grapefruit juice, strawberries, sage and white miso paste. The glass brim was coated with grounded Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.

“This means a lot, I worked as a chef for a number of years, and then worked my way to the front of the house. I love representing all of these spirits that we had here today,” said Farkas, who is also a representative for Caledonia Spirits. He used to bartend at Waterworks in Winooski, prior to his current position.

Tuesday’s contest was presented by Hotel Vermont, the Vermont Distiller’s Association, and Vermont Ski + Ride magazine.

The competition consisted of two rounds. In round one, contestants drew from a stocked pantry and randomly selected Vermont distilled spirits to create a cocktail. A judging panel of local experts plus input from the crowd selected five winners to compete in the second round. In that round, contestants had to use secret ingredients from a mystery box to whip up a cheers-worthy entry.

“I think tonight was excellent,” said Cam Keitel, food and beverage manager at Hotel Vermont, and the organizer of Tuesday’s bartending competition. “We faced a really big challenge in that Vermont is a huge state and the efforts of Vermont Bartenders Guild are concentrated in Chittenden County, so we’re so lucky to be down here in southern Vermont and prove that Vermont bartenders all work together.”

The winning cocktail is being featured at the Vermont Tourism Summit welcome reception Wednesday and Farkas will be highlighted in Vermont Ski + Ride magazine. Last year’s winner was Martha Mack from Mary’s at Baldwin Creek in Bristol, Vt.