“Battle in the Burbs” Cocktail Competition will mix excellence with prestige – and a $1000 check to the winner. (Plus you get to meet NYC cocktail expert Dale DeGroff!)
The “Battle in the Burbs” cocktail competition is gearing up for its annual showdown, and this year promises to be the most spirited clash of mixological talent in DFW.
Established six years ago by Sean Conner, the owner of PIE 3.14 and a respected mixologist, the event has evolved into a prestigious platform for area bartenders and beverage program runners to showcase their skills and creativity.
The competition has been steadily gaining recognition, bringing together top talent not only from the Dallas/Fort Worth area but also from the surrounding suburbs. This year’s distinguished panel of judges includes some big names in the cocktail universe: Dale DeGroff, often called “the King of Cocktails,” alongside award-winning bartender and author Alba Huerta, and a force behind modern absinthe, Ted Breaux.
DeGroff is celebrated for igniting the classic cocktail revival in New York’s Rainbow Room. Alba Huerta is best known for her Southern hospitality and award-winning bar, Julep. And Ted Breaux is revered for his expertise in absinthe. Those three and the other judges on the panel will be critiquing the competitors’ concoctions for creativity, flavor and flair.
The competition is open to talented individuals who bartend or manage a beverage program in Dallas/Fort Worth and the surrounding suburbs. Entry forms must be filled out and submitted by January 21st, with competitors set to be unveiled by January 26th. To submit an entry, aspiring participants can visit the official website.
The Battle in the Burbs competition will unfold at PIE 314, located at 2560 King Arthur Blvd, Lewisville, Texas, on Monday, February 5, at 7 pm. The venue, owned by the event’s founder, Sean Conner, will host the intense face-off where participants will vie for the coveted title and a grand prize of $1000.
Apart from the significant cash reward, the competition offers participants exposure, experience, and prestige in the local cocktail scene. For enthusiasts who are not bartenders, the event provides an exciting opportunity to witness the intense action as mixologists showcase their craft and innovation.
Sean Conner, the mastermind behind the annual event, created the Battle in the Burbs with business partners Anthony Morel and Ray Waring to propel the careers of Texas bartenders while elevating the art of the cocktail. Craft cocktail-focused bartenders find such contests invaluable, as they bring attention to their expertise, and this particular competition adds an extra incentive with its substantial cash prize.
“Ten years ago, I was told a craft cocktail bar wouldn’t be successful north of I-635,” says Conner. “And then I had the opportunity to open Whiskey Cake Kitchen in Plano. I used to tell my bartenders that they are better at making cocktails than any bar in Dallas simply because of pure volume and repetition. If practice makes perfect, as they say, then we had tons of practice at Whiskey Cake. Now we have tons of great places in the suburbs that serve great cocktails.”
The event is free to attend, and vendors for a number of alcohol brands will be offering free samples to those who attend. Conner says the event is geared to those in the bar and spirits industry, but everyone is welcome. He expects about 200 spectators to attend. “If you love cocktails, these judges are the best in the world and all of them are worth meeting,” says Conner. “It’s a great opportunity to talk to Dale DeGroff and get him to sign one of his books. There’s no one like him in the industry.”
Though PIE 314 won’t serve food during the event, Conner says a food truck will be on site.