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Grand Cocktail bartenders create winning concoctions

August 25, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Firerock Cherry Fashioned
FireRock Grille's Woodford Cherry Old Fashioned. Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

Food wasn’t the only focus of Restaurant Week, as this year’s theme was pairing dishes with beverages.

The Grand Cocktail competition winners were announced at the Bourbon BBQ event at The B.O.B. on Saturday. Thirty-one of the 60 restaurants that participated in Restaurant Week also participated in the Grand Cocktail competition.

The competition included both a judged segment and public vote for the two categories: Best Woodford Old Fashioned and Best Woodford Summer Cocktail. Woodford Reserve served as Restaurant Week’s sponsor.

At the Bourbon BBQ event, John Gonzalez, statewide entertainment writer for MLive, and Ice Brigade master carver and owner Randy Finch announced the winners.

Judged Winners for “Best Woodford Old Fashioned”

1st Place: Joshua Hallwachs, Pearl Street Grill, The Woodsman

2nd Place: Melissa Bembny, FireRock Grille, Woodford Cherry Old Fashioned

3rd Place: Tara Vandermolen, Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen, Old Fashioned Infusion

Judged Winners for “Best Woodford Summer Cocktail”

1st Place: Garry Boyd, McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, Blambic Shrub Bunch

2nd Place: Jeff Dabkowski, Terra GR, Summer Bourbon Brew

3rd Place: Daniel Lovig, Bar Diviani, Bourbon Bunny

In the public vote, Dembny won both categories with her Old Fashioned Infusion and Cherry Ginger Fizz.

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