Garnish Games 2022: Denver’s Premier Cocktail Competition

BY Peyton Garcia


As the dust finally settles from the last two years of social distancing, empty dining rooms, and uncertainty, there’s never been a better time to raise a glass — and there’s never been a better place to do it than the 2022 Garnish Games.

This annual cocktail competition from DiningOut Events and Diageo Spirits is back in full force with 11 of Denver’s master mixologists going head to head for the title of champion. For this battle of the bar, contenders are competing to have more than just the most creative cocktail, they have to show off their garnish game.

Far from the lime twists and sugar rims of conventional cocktails, the Garnish Game’s lineup boasts mouthwatering masterpieces that span the gamut from fiery jalapeño boats and tobacco smoke bubbles to banana dolphins and chocolate-dipped mushrooms.

The competitors will first vie for votes online. The top six cocktails with the most votes will then move on to the live finale May 18 at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Denver, where guests will get the chance to sample the drinks and place their votes to crown the Garnish Games 2022 champion.

More than winning bartending bragging rights, this spirited competition is about celebrating community and raising a toast to the return of live food and drink events. Courtesy of DiningOut, all competing bartenders receive a $100 cash prize for participating; the six finalists each get $300; and the first place winner will take home an all expense paid trip to attend this year’s United States Bartender’s Guild World Class global bartending competition in Nashville, TN.

How to vote:
You can find photos and videos of each competing concoction, plus learn more about the inspiration and the mixologist behind each one, right here. Voting ends Wednesday, May 11.

The live Garnish Games finale:
The competition will culminate in a live event on the rooftop deck of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Denver hosted by DiningOut Events on May 18 from 6 to 9pm. Guests will be invited to sample the six finalists’ cocktails, then vote for the winner. The first 150 guests will be greeted with free welcome cocktails. The evening will include live music and swag giveaways. Learn more and reserve your spot here.

Meet our 2022 cocktail contenders:

Zander Aklilu (A5)

Ravin Buzzell (Bezel)

Savanna Phibbs (Gold Point)

Drew Stevens (Green Russell)

Jacob Pike (Guard and Grace)

Giovanni Leone (Improper City)

Monica Stephen (Yacht Club)

Luis Ramirez (Los Dos Potrillos)

Lexi Parker (Poka Lola)

Krista Orlebeck (Pony Up)

Saydee Hopkins (Williams & Graham)


Peyton Garcia

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