York, Maine-based Wiggly Bridge Distillery, a family-owned distillery committed to the art of crafting premium spirits, is proud to announce the winners of the Spirited Elixir Challenge, an initiative conceived to spotlight the hard work and extraordinary talent of bartenders across the state.
The Spirited Elixir Challenge, invited bartenders from Maine to demonstrate their ingenuity by crafting unique cocktails using Wiggly Bridge Distillery’s premium spirits. The competition aimed to shed light on the diverse range of skills and styles prevalent in the local bartending community, proving that each drink is a masterpiece in its own right as well as inspire camaraderie among mixologists.
The challenge unfolded over weeks of spirited entries, with each participant infusing their unique flair into the creation of signature cocktails. From timeless classics with a modern twist to avant-garde concoctions that pushed the boundaries of mixology, the entries reflected the diverse and dynamic landscape of the craft.
Five top finalists were selected based on creativity, spirit used, presentation and artistry and story behind the cocktail. From there, Wiggly Bridge Distillery’s owner/founder David Woods, daughter-in-law Amanda Woods, sales rep Brenda Rich, and talented photographer/videographer Nick Eaton (owner of Life In Focus) visited the top five finalists to pick the top three winners, encompassing all criteria above and including taste and balance of the cocktail.
By visiting each establishment, the group could immerse themselves in the ambiance of each location experiencing first hand the passion that fuels the craft. Nick videoed and. took pictures of each finalist making the cocktail not only to showcase each mixologist, but also to give recognition to the businesses that encourage and support their bartenders.
“I’ve always loved the quote, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ and this cocktail competition aims to do just that,” said David Woods. “We want the industry as a whole to succeed and that starts with highlighting the people who craft the cocktails and the establishments that support them. We’ve had such positive feedback and bartenders showing their gratitude for receiving recognition for their craft. This is something we will be doing again and again.”
Amanda Woods added, “What I love about this competition is that it illuminated the brilliance often hidden behind the bar, showcasing these really neat people who transform our spirits into liquid poetry. Each cocktail tells a story, and we are happy to provide a stage for these talented mixologists to share their narratives with all of us.”
In addition to receiving the honor of being top three in the competition, Wiggly Bridge Distillery also offered cash prizes. 1st Place: $1,000, 2nd Place: $500 & 3rd Place: $250
The Top Three Winners:
After much anticipation, the top three winners have been selected:
First Place: Brian Catapang
● Restaurant/Bar: Magnus On Water
● Cocktail: “PPK”
● Spirit: Wiggly Bridge Bottled In Bond Bourbon Whisky
● Brian has an extensive knowledge of spirits and mixology and likes to surf in his free time.
Second Place: Ashley Lam
● Restaurant/Bar: Old Port Sea Grill and Raw Bar
● Cocktail: “Pear Pressure on a Wiggly Bridge”
● Spirit: Wiggly Bridge White Whisky
● Ashley is a sommelier and a talented mixologist that appreciates texture and balance in her cocktails.
Third Place: Joshua Sweeney
● Restaurant/Bar: The AC Hotel Downtown Portland Waterfront
● Cocktail: “You’ll Float Too”
● Spirit: Wiggly Bridge Small Batch Rum
● Joshua is a Stephen King fan born and raised in Maine.
As the challenge culminated with the announcement of the top three winners, Wiggly Bridge Distillery expresses gratitude to all participants for their dedication and commitment to the craft. The winners will be celebrated at a prize distribution event to be scheduled for the end of January/ early February, where all participants, friends, family, and cocktail enthusiasts are invited to join in the fun. This event was created to bring together the vibrant mixology community and to toast to the winners all while celebrating the artistry of crafting exceptional cocktails.
Follow Wiggly Bridge Distillery on social media to see the top 5 finalists recipes, pictures, and videos that will be posted throughout the month. @wigglybridgedistillery