Looking to try the best rum cocktail in the D.C. area? Head to Tiki TNT at The Wharf on June 7 to celebrate the finale of Todd Thrasher’s first annual Rum Royale competition. The conclusion of this three-month contest celebrates the next generation of mixology masters.
As the owner of Tiki TNT and creator of the competition, Thrasher has been at the forefront of D.C.’s artisanal cocktail movement for over 20 years. He owns numerous restaurants and bars throughout the D.C. area that are partnered with celebrated chefs, and has won multiple honors for his craft. Now, his Rum Royale competition will support other bartenders and give them the recognition they deserve.
“I was excited to provide a platform that celebrates the incredible talent we have in this city,” Thrasher says.
Participants were required to confirm employment at a D.C. area bar or restaurant in order to qualify. They were to submit a cocktail recipe and encouraged to “rum” with it. The competition welcomes creativity and the only rule is that it must include one of the five selections of Thrasher’s Rum: White, Gold, Spiced, Coconut, or the flagship Green Spiced Rum, which was named one of the Top 100 spirits of 2020 in the rum category by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
“The parameters of the competition do not stipulate that the cocktail has to be consistent with the style of drinks that we offer at Tiki TNT because we wanted each contestant to have as much freedom and creativity as possible,” Thrasher says. “We are offering monetary prizes as a way to support our incredible competitors.”
The finale will feature ten finalists who were evaluated on the name of the drink, combination of ingredients, flavor profile, presentation, originality and uniqueness. The finalists also must be in good standing within the community and uphold a workspace dedicated to being a safe and inclusive environment, according to Thrasher.
“Each judge will bring their own expertise and experience to the process. But taste and creativity will be two of the most important factors.”
Although the judges are a secret for now, Thrasher revealed that the three judges will represent two members of the media and one expert industry voice.
“[The judges] will draw from their years of experience to ultimately decide who is a bar above the rest. The judges will name the grand prize winner to be awarded $3,000, the second place winner to be awarded $2,000, and the third place winner to be awarded $1,000,” Thrasher says. “Patrons will also sip and savor the competing cocktails, naming a people’s choice winner to be awarded a $1,000 prize.”
Thrasher said he is excited to make the Rum Royale an annual competition. “We at Thrasher’s Rum are looking forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.”
Tiki TNT is a unique and standout bar filled with people doing what they love. It is connected to Thrasher’s Rum, an urban distillery and is a great place to escape the hustle-and-bustle of D.C. and enjoy Polynesian-style food while sipping rum drinks with a waterfront view.
“We try not to focus on what anyone else is doing. As a team we just focus on doing what we love,” Thrasher says.
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