Victorian Honoured as 'Best Bartender' in Region

A sold-out grand tasting kicked off the third annual Art of the Cocktail Festival, and the event’s Best Bartender in the Pacific Northwest event saw Victoria’s Josh Boudreau take top honours.

More than 600 eager tasters sipped and noshed their way through the festival, held earlier this month at Crystal Garden. Boudreau, who works the bar at Sauce and Veneto, triumphed thanks to his cocktail creation known as the Headless Horseman. Nate Caudle of Clive’s Classic Lounge and Ryan Malcolm of Glo brought home second and third places, respectively.

All weekend, Clive’s and the Chateau Victoria were abuzz with hundreds of cocktail enthusiasts and industry professionals, tasting and nosing their way through cocktail workshops. Eleven of the 16 workshops were sold out, including the Whole Beast event, the Bitter Truth, the Science of Citrus, and the Spirituality of Mezcal.

The Home Bartenders Competition, a new addition to the Art of the Cocktail, had an eager audience as up-and-coming amateur bartenders mixed and muddled; Janice Mansfield brought home the trophy with her Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise cocktail.

{advertisement}Emcee Missie Peters led a packed Veneto through the Best Bartender in the Pacific Northwest competition. It had three parts: the first was a written test on cocktail and spirit knowledge; the second, a blind taste test — each participant was blindfolded, and asked to sip a number of spirits, name what type it is (rye, whiskey, bourbon, gin, etc.) and also name the brand. The third part involved mixing their own custom cocktail for the judges, and was scored based on taste and aroma, as well as technical and performance prowess.