By Nick BeJeaux
John Morris, Bar Manager at Bin 77 Bistro and Wine Bar, has proven once again the he firmly sits as one of the best bartenders in Baton Rouge. The Best Bartender Competition’s people’s choice winner claimed another victory at Olive or Twist’s Bar Fight.
Competing against Joey Goar of The Cove, Ana Altares of Mansur’s on the Boulevard, and Heather Taylor of Louisiana Lagniappe, juggling surprise mystery ingredients each round only added to the pressure. After all, it’s not every day bartenders make a drink with Twinkies.
“That was the absolute worst,” said Morris in an interview with DIG. “I’m pretty sure I ate most of it before I even put it in the drink, but I used it as a sweet component for a drink that turned out ok – I almost went citrus with it but decided against that. To be honest I’m amazed I made it past that round.”
Morris found his footing working with ginger root and wasabi in the next round to create his favorite drink of the evening.
“I’ve worked in a lot of places that draw on Asian influences, so I was really excited to see those ingredients,” he said. “I mixed them with plum blackberry and it turned out really well.”
Morris’ final drink of the evening was his take on a classic: a Gin Fizz made with poprocks and cold-brew coffee.
“I was very happy with how the pop rocks worked in the drink – they were still popping when the drinks went out,” he said.
With another bar-competition notch on his belt, Morris ought to be boasting and bragging, but he says that’s not his style.
“My coworkers always joke that it’s a good thing we have double doors on the bar so I can fit my head through, but I’ve never had that attitude,” he said. “I’ve only been in BR for a year and I’m constantly surprised by the level of talent behind the bars in this city.”
Bar Fight is a weekly bartending competition sponsored by DIG Magazine and hosted by Olive or Twist. Catch round four March 22 at Oliver Twist at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at digbr.wpengine.com and at the door for $20. As of press time, they are nearly sold out.