Garnish Games 2023: A Cosmic Collision of Mixology and Imagination

BY Steph Wilson

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This year, Denver’s mixologists boldly go where no bartender has gone before. The 2023 Garnish Games, an annual cocktail competition from DiningOut Events, is back for its fifth year, presented by Diageo Brand Spirits and hosted at the surreal Meow Wolf Convergence Station. Prepare for a cosmic journey through flavor and artistic expression, where the boundaries of reality blur and imagination takes flight.

Meow Wolf’s largest permanent installation, Convergence Station, is an immersive art experience that transports participants of all ages into new dimensions of storytelling and creative exploration. As the backdrop for this year’s Garnish Games, the 4-story exhibition—home to over 70 unique installations, rooms, and portals—provides an extraordinary setting for a cosmic clash of garnishes and mixology mastery.

In this astral competition, Denver’s most innovative bartenders create otherworldly concoctions inspired by the cathartic tale of converged worlds at Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. Moving beyond the mundane lime twists and sugar rims, these cocktail virtuosos craft imaginative masterpieces that mirror the transformative nature of their surroundings. Expect gravity-defying garnishes and supernova sips that’ll leave you starstruck.

The event takes place at Convergence Station in Denver, Meow Wolf’s most enchanting event venue to date, fitting up to 500 people inside its magical walls. With the first round complete and submissions reviewed, it’s time for liftoff. Explore the galaxy of edible artworks by visiting the Garnish Games website here. Discover photos, videos, and stories of each competing concoction, and learn about the mixologist behind each creation. Cast your vote to help select the Top 6 contestants. The online voting runs from May 1 to May 17, with the finalists announced on May 18.

The cosmic celebration peaks at the Garnish Games Live Finale on June 7, held within the mind-bending world of Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. Fortunate attendees can sample each finalist’s Meow Wolf-themed cocktail, vote for their favorite, and help crown the 2023 Garnish Games champion. The evening includes a free welcome cocktail, samples from all Garnish Games bartenders, enticing music, and giveaways. Get your tickets here and gear up for a night of celestial indulgence.

The Garnish Games Live Finale adds another layer of sparkle to Meow Wolf Denver’s Adulti-Verse, an adults-only evening open to all 21+ adventurers. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., explore the enigmatic Convergence Station and immerse yourself in the unknown. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., enjoy sampling from this year’s most “out there” top beverages. Just remember to bring your photo ID, as all visitors must be 21+ during these exclusive exhibition hours.

This Meow Wolf trip is one you definitely want to take for the chance to experience the 5th annual Garnish Games, where the city’s top mixologists blend their passion for cocktail creation with the whimsical world of Meow Wolf. Join us on this odyssey through taste and imagination, where the sky isn’t the limit; it’s just the beginning.

Meet The Garnish Games Top 10 Contestants

CONTESTANT: Harvest Moon Pelletier

RESTAURANT: Narrative

COCKTAIL: Meringue Mirage

CONTESTANT: Tim Dam-Richards

RESTAURANT: Uncle

COCKTAIL: Flying Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

CONTESTANT: Claire Salem

RESTAURANT: Señor Bear

COCKTAIL: Pep in Your Step

CONTESTANT: Lexi Parker

RESTAURANT: Poka Lola

COCKTAIL: Crystal Castles

CONTESTANT: Jacob Pike

RESTAURANT: TAG Restaurant Group

COCKTAIL: Head In The Cloud

CONTESTANT: Collin Griffith

RESTAURANT: OAK at Fourteenth

COCKTAIL: American Beauty

CONTESTANT: Lexi Healy

RESTAURANT: Hell or High Water

COCKTAIL: Inter-dimensional Mozzdaddy

CONTESTANT: Paul Webb

RESTAURANT: Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club

COCKTAIL: Contradictions

CONTESTANT: George McGrath

RESTAURANT: Ash’Kara

COCKTAIL: The Ash’Ness Monster

CONTESTANT: Stefan Spitaleri

RESTAURANT: The Fifth String

COCKTAIL: Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

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