Chicago Drinks Guide is thrilled to introduce Makenzie Helem as one of the judges for the 2024 Bartender Spirits Awards 6th addition. Makenzie is an inspiring & trendsetting bartender from Chicago. Her journey in the world of mixology has been nothing short of encouraging, and her dedication to the craft is truly commendable.
Makenzie got into bartending when she was in college and worked at a place called Miller's Back Door in Bellingham, WA. That's where she fell in love with mixing drinks and making eye-catching cocktails. Now, she's part of the top 30 bartenders in the US for USBG World Class 2023 – pretty impressive, right?
What makes Makenzie stand out is how she loves trying new things in her drinks. She's into experimenting with cooking techniques and adding food flavors to her cocktails. When she looks at a menu, she wonders how the different flavors will taste together and gets inspired to try new stuff. Outside of work, Makenzie loves exploring the city, eating lots of pastries, and ending the day with a movie marathon featuring Nic Cage, all while enjoying a hard seltzer.
We're sure Makenzie's great knowledge and sense of right judgement will bring a lot to the Bartender Spirits Awards. Let's give a big welcome to Makenzie Helem as she joins the 2024 BSA judging team.
THE 2024 JUDGING PANEL INCLUDES SOME TOP NAMES IN THE US BAR INDUSTRY.
Renato M. Tonelli - 2023 US Bartender of the Year and Founder at Sustainable Bartender
Charles Joly - World Class Global Bartending Winner and Official Mixologist of the Emmy's and Oscars.
Julieta Campos - Beverage and Bar Operations Director at The Fifty/50 Group, Chicago.
Katie Renshaw - 2019 US World Class Bartender of the Year.
Mike Ryan - Global Beverage Director, Acurio International, Chicago.
Trudy Thomas - Corporate Director of Beverage at Southworth Development, Spirits Educator and Mixologist, Nashville.
Abraham Vucekovich - Beverage Director, Meadowlark Hospitality, Chicago, Meadowlark Hospitality.
Guillermo Bravo - Beverage Director at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Chicago.
Danny Shapiro - Founding Partner in Scofflaw Group, Chicago.
Chris Barna - Bar Manager at Proof, 2022 Top 50 US World Class 2023 Top 30 US World Class, Charleston.
Elliott Ernst - Country's Top 100 World Class Bartenders and Mixologist, Rockford and more.
The judging panel consists of some of the most renowned names in the U.S. bar industry, all of them with extensive expertise within the on-premise industry. The result will be a relevant and practical source of reference for bartenders, bar managers, bar owners, and other industry professionals when making purchasing decisions for their establishments.
If you are a spirits brand anywhere in the world and are looking to grow into the USA’s on-premise channels, Bartender Spirits Awards is the competition that you should enter. Brands are rated by the best in class and real trade buyers with the judging criteria that the bar managers and bartenders use when they buy for their bars.
Brands are encouraged to enter before the early bird deadline of January 31, 2024.