Made with Love cocktail competition attracts 40 bartenders to Common Eatery
Eating & Drinking

Made with Love cocktail competition attracts 40 bartenders to Common Eatery

Would you brave the elements to get a drink? Or make a drink?

Despite the heavy snow and freezing rain, 40 bartenders from across Ottawa piled into Common Eatery this past Monday night to participate in this year’s Made with Love mixology competition. Judges tested the contestants’ creativity by assigning each a surprise spirit and ingredient.

So, what can you make with thyme and tequila? We found out.

Cory Contini, representing Zoé’s Lounge, describes his smoked blackberry and vodka creation to judges. “Vodka is like a mannequin,” says Contini, “it’s ready to dress up.” A participant last year, Contini says the Made with Love competition is the “best in the country.” Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns


While teku glasses are traditionally used for beer, Joshua Schweyer wanted to use them for his Grand Marnier and raspberry cocktail because they enhance the aroma of a drink. The Bar Lupulus representative said the mix proved challenging since Grand Marnier is usually an additive, not used as the base of a drink. Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns


Schweyer putting the final touch on his cocktail. “The orchids were in the case of an emergency,” he admits. Francis Tessier-Burns


Judge, Barry Moore samples Schweyer’s drink. Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns


Chris Howell of EVOO Greek Kitchen pours out his cilantro margarita. Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns


Jennifer Gwynne was one of only a handful of women in the competition. She lit up her assigned bottle of Cirka vodka, which comes from a new distillery in Montreal. The Tomo representative made a martini with green grapes. Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns

With 40 contestants, this year’s edition of Made with Love Ottawa was bigger than those in Montreal and Toronto. Some participants said the competition is helping to put Ottawa bartending on the map. (In fact, Julian Bernard from Fauna Ottawa won last year’s national finals.) The Ottawa regional finals take place on March 19 and will feature the following 18 winners from this week’s event:

  1. Connor Currie – Charlotte Ottawa
  2. Justin Fraser – Common Eatery
  3. Cory Contini – Zoe’s
  4. Mark McLachlan – Atari
  5. Julien Forrester – steak & sushi
  6. Natalie Sole – Belmont
  7. Jesse Baillie – Independent
  8. Chris Howell – EVOO Greek Kitchen
  9. Jason McNeely – Play Food and Wine
  10. Stan Reyes – Datsun
  11. Josh Schweyer – Bar Lupulus
  12. Jennifer Gwynne – Tomo
  13. Christopher Vachon – The Clocktower Brew Pub
  14. Gabriel Tessier – Bar Laurel
  15. Jovan Morales – Kinki Lounge Kitchen
  16. Jeremy Gaulin – Foreign Cinéma
  17. Jeff Taylor – South Block Whiskey Bar
  18. Cody Nicoll – Joey Restaurant Group // LOCAL Lansdowne