Matt Seiter, bar manager of Sanctuaria (4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-535-9700), will be a finalist in the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition on Sunday, August 26, in Kansas City. The competition pits twelve bartenders from around the country against one another. Each contestant will mix a drink on stage during the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival, with guests given samples of the drinks, and judges determining the grand prize-winner, who will take home a $1,000 cash prize.
Seiter tells Gut Check, "[It's] an honor to be the only one [from St. Louis]," and that he's "excited to be a part of it."
Seiter says the $1,000 grand prize would, of course, also be nice, but he wants to help the overall mission of the event, too: "What I'd like to do in my time there is help out those cats in Kansas City and make this more of a Midwest scene, start to make a name for the 'No Coast!'"
In order to get the most out of the weekend, Seiter is working with Kansas City bartender Jenn Tosatto to host a smaller competition on Thursday, August 23, right before Paris of the Plains kicks off.
"The competition on Sunday is more serious," Seiter explains, "We want to kick off the weekend with some fun."
"We came up with what we are hoping to be an annual event: Missouri Mohawk Melee. I have a Mohawk, Jenn has a Mohawk...we'll rename it every year based on who is in it."
For the Missouri Mohawk Melee, both Tosatto and Seiter will create three drinks: a punch, a cocktail on tap and a shaken or stirred cocktail. The drinks will be named after animals, such as "the Unicorn" or "the Dragon," so the maker of the drinks will remain anonymous and industry professionals can judge without bias.
Of course, Seiter won't let the Missouri Mohawk Melee effect his performance in the Paris of the Plains event. He's created a special cocktail just for this contest called "Drowning Sorrows." The drink includes scotch, whiskey, gin, simple syrup, lime juice, grapefruit juice and a homemade spiced coffee that includes a blend of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.
For those interested in attending the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City on Sunday, August, 26, tickets cost $25. For more information visit the event's website.