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The 2020 Garnish Games Champion Has Been Crowned

Another year, another Garnish Games come and gone. Cocktail enthusiasts from around Denver and Boulder arrived in droves for the biggest cocktail competition of the year—and the stakes were high. From glass shards made of sugar to extravagant balloon-popping displays, this year’s creativity was top-notch, and the contestants did not fail to impress.

Securing the People’s Choice vote was The $4 Dream, a creation by Josh Rock of Elway’s Downtown. The sweet, tropical tiki drink combined flavors of guava and passionfruit alongside I.W. Harper bourbon whiskey and a delightful homemade guava whipped cream to top it all off, making for a dangerously good drink.

The $4 Dream by Josh Rock of Elway’s Downtown

TJ Vong of Mizu Izakaya’s eye-catching Girl with Balloon certainly enticed voters in round one, and the unique combination of Don Julio Blanco tequila, matcha, yuzu, and honey simple syrup was a delight. The added “Wow” factor of lavender-colored ube cheese foam was enough to impress the judges, who awarded Mizu with the 3rd place spot.

Girl With Balloon by TJ Vong of Mizu Izakaya

Coming up in second place overall was none other than the popular Green Russell, with Elyse Kimmel’s Concerto No. 5 and its Schisandra berry flavor taking home silver. Kimmel, a veteran of the Games, opted for a pairing of Glenkinchie Distiller’s Edition Scotch whisky and Ron Zacapa 23 rum, along with facets of lemon, Concord grape, and rose petal, and a hardened-sugar coral garnish that boasted elegance and fragility.

Concerto No. 5 by Elyse Kimmel of Green Russell

And of course, the winner of it all and the 2020 Garnish Games Champion is Nicole Lebedevitch of Ash’Kara, captivating eyes and taste buds with her bright blue Coast to Coast cocktail. Lebedevitch artfully crafted a sweet and tropical cocktail, utilizing Tanqueray No. 10 gin, lemon, pineapple, orgeat, blue curaçao, and Yeni Raki for a seriously memorable sip. Garnished with the mesmerizing colors of a yellow lemon peel, green fennel, and bright red coconut-oil coral, it’s easy to see why Lebedevitch went home with the title.

Coast to Coast by Nicole Lebedevitch of Ash’Kara

DiningOut thanks all its participants, sponsors, and guests for a particularly fun Monday night—cheers to the 2020 Champion, Ash’Kara, and to another year full of tantalizing cocktails!

By DiningOut Staff