February 28 - March 4, 2018

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Meet The Finalists: Ryan Welliver

Our fourth and final contestant, Ryan Welliver, was born and raised in South Carolina.  He’s pullin’ out all the stops for the competition and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with during Wednesday's finals.  Good luck Ryan!  You're up: Q: Where's your hometown and where do you currently bartend? A: My hometown is Hilton Head Island, SC and I manage the bar at The Cocktail Club. Q: Name of the cocktail you entered in the competition? A: I originally named my cocktail “Hamiltime,” but am changing the name to, “Storm the Beach”, in honor of the anniversary of D-Day, when the Americans stormed the beaches of Normandy! Q: Best bar for drinks with friends? A: I like to start the night with cocktails at The Belmont or The Rarebit and usually end at either The Recovery Room or The Commodore. I will say, Cocktail Club is a great place for cocktails as well! Q: Favorite drink to make? A: My favorite drink to make would be a split between The Last Word and The Daiquiri. I love introducing The Last Word to guests that have never had one before because the complexity of flavors-- it really makes you think about what you are tasting. The Daiquiri is one of my favorites as well due to its simplicity and its ability to be used as a blueprint to build other cocktails. It is also fun to see how different styles of rums play in the classic daiquiri format. The Last Word: ¾ oz Ford’s Gin ¾ oz Green Chartreuse ¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur ¾ oz fresh lime juice Ryan’s Daiquiri: 2 ½ oz Plantation Pineapple ¾ oz fresh lime juice ½ oz 2:1 demerara syrup Q: Best part about being a bartender in Downtown Charleston? A: The best part of bartending in Downtown Charleston, in my opinion, is being a part of a community and family. Everybody is friendly and looks out for each other, even when competing against each other. It's always fun and I enjoy meeting new people and giving them the best experience possible while they are drinking in my bar. Q: Best-kept bartending secret? A: Open a tab! You will get quicker service that night and most likely in the future.  If you open a tab, it is a lot easier to remember you and what you drink when we know your name as well. If it is busy and you have an open tab, we will most likely take your order before others because we know we might not need to take a trip to the register right away, which slows down service and throws off our rhythm. Q: Anything you want to say about your three competitors? A: They are all outstanding bartenders and I am very humbled to be competing next to them. I think we all consider each other friends and I think we still will no matter the outcome of this competition. I wish all of them luck and hope they do the same for me. BONUS Question: Spirit Cocktail? A: Daiquiri. I wear straw hats and linen well.

Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl to meet all four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. No tickets needed! Information can be found here

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Meet The Finalists: Jeremiah Schenzel

Meet our third Cocktail Competition finalist, Jeremiah Schenzel, resident bartender at Scarecrow in downtown Charleston. Jeremiah is sure to bring the heat this holiday season with his own rum-inspired, hand-crafted cocktail.  Catch him behind the bar at Scarecrow slinging drinks + be sure to wish him luck in the finals Wednesday, December 7th.  Q: Where's your hometown and where do you currently bartend? A: Carson City, Nevada.  Currently Bartend at Scarecrow and Feathertop Q: Name of the cocktail you entered in the competition? A: Of Saints & Sailors Q: Best bar for drinks with friends? A: Any place that has good music and bartenders with good attitudes Q: Favorite drink to make? A: That's like picking a favorite child Q: Best part about being a bartender in Downtown Charleston? A: The amount of talent that has emerged in the last few years and the comradery amongst the bartenders in this town. Q: Best-kept bartending secret? A: Secrets don't make friends. Q: Anything you want to say about your three competitors? A: This certainly is a handsome group. BONUS Question: Your spirit cocktail. A: The Last Word.  Perfectly balanced with a touch of weird.  Never expected, but always delicious! Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl to meet all four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. No tickets needed! Information can be found here
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Meet The Finalists: Allen Lancaster Jr.

Meet the second of our four 2017 Cocktail Competition finalists, Allen Lancaster of The Bar at The Spectator Hotel.  Allen’s experience and wisdom behind the bar are sure to give him a leg up in the competition.  Check out our exclusive Q&A session with Allen below + be sure to check him out behind the bar at The Spectator on December 7th during our merry, merry Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl.  Q: Where's your hometown and where do you currently bartend? A: Born in Cranberry Lake, NJ and bartend at the Spectator Hotel. Q: Name of the cocktail you entered in the competition? A: No Bunny's Bizness. Q: Best bar for drinks with friends? A: Gene's Haufbrau (West Ashley) Q: Favorite drink to make? A: Anything stirred... Q: Best part about being a bartender in Downtown Charleston? A: Our audience, both local and visitor, is inherently thirsty for our craft. Folks come to Charleston to enjoy the pleasure of quality food and drink. Q: Best-kept bartending secret? A: Boomsma Oude Genever - not entirely a "secret" but certainly underutilized. It's like gin and whiskey had a baby. Q: Anything you want to say about your three competitors? A: These cats can ball. Best of luck gentlemen! BONUS Question: Your spirit cocktail? A: Old Fashioned for work; Painkiller for play. Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl to meet all four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. No tickets needed! Information can be found here
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Meet The Finalists: Anthony Kearse

Meet our first of four 2017 cocktail competition finalists, Anthony Kearse!  Anthony is the resident bartender at Feathertop in downtown Charleston, but is sure ready to bring some Louisiana flair to the Lowcountry and spice up the competition!  We sat down with Anthony to get the 411 on his background + his cocktail. Without further ado: Q: Where's your hometown and where do you currently bartend? A: I was born in Louisiana, but am an Army Brat and spent the last 20 years off and on in Columbia, SC.  Bartender at Feathertop. Q: What is the name of the cocktail you entered in the competition? A: Havana Turkey Shoot in the Holy City. Q: Best bar for drinks with friends? A: The Whig (Columbia, SC) Q: Favorite drink to make? A: Dealer’s Choice. Q: Best part about being a bartender in Downtown Charleston? A: Meeting other bartenders and people since moving to Charleston. Q: Best-kept bartending secret? A: I have a lab at home with over 400 bottles! Q: Anything you want to say about your three competitors? A: Live, learn, and have fun! BONUS Question: Your spirit cocktail? A: Gin & Tonic!

Join us Wednesday, December 7th for our Rum Rum Rudolph Cocktail Crawl to meet all four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. No tickets needed! Information can be found here

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RUM, don't walk to this cocktail crawl!

On the 12th year of CHSWFF my true love gave to me: RUM. Our annual cocktail competition is in full force, and this year we’ll be rumming our way through downtown Charleston in celebration of the city’s rich cocktail history + culture. Join us Wednesday, December 7th from 5:00pm - 9:00pm to meet our four finalists as they present their one-of-a-kind, rum-centric cocktails. Tout your tackiest Christmas sweater and/or antlers and embark on a very merry cocktail crawl as you jingle bell rock your way to each finalist’s home bar. The holiday hoopla gets underway at The Bar at The Spectator Hotel at 5:00 pm. Be sure to snag your Rum, Rum Rewards Coaster to be stamped at all four locations. As you move to each bar, delight in each unique libation, which can be purchased for just $3. We will reside at each bar for 45 minutes to ensure your tidings are handled with care as we mix + jingle our way to a holly jolly, good time. The winner of the evening’s reindeer games will be announced just after 9p.m. at our final stop, Scarecrow. Upon arrival, turn in your completed Rum, Rum Rewards Coaster to win cool CHSWFF swag. All participants will receive a current issue of Imbibe and one lucky, random entry will receive a one-year subscription to Imbibe, as well as two tickets to What the Pho?, supported by Food Republic, where all four finalists will be featured. No ticket is needed to participate.  Let’s refresh: 5p.m. - Start at The Bar at The Spectator to sip on Allen Lancaster's "No Bunny's Bizness". 6p.m. - Pull up a stool at The Cocktail Club for a Ryan Welliver's "Storm the Beach". 7p.m. - No time to slow down. Land at Feathertop and throw back Anthony Kearse's "Havana Turkey Shoot in the Holy City". 8p.m. - You’ve made it to the finish line. Get comfy cozy at Scarecrow and enjoy Jeremiah Schenzel's "Of Saints and Sailors". 9p.m. or a few minutes after - 2017 Official Cocktail and "Crowd Favorite" announced + prizes awarded. Hop on over to our Facebook event page for updates + let us know you plan to mix + mingle with us!
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