Bourbon Battles

Bourbon Battles in CalgaryWhen the Marriott decided to hold a battle royale, celebrating their curated bourbon flights at 250 of their finest hotels, it makes sense that Calgary would be their only Canadian stop. Because who in this country appreciates a good drink more than anyone from YYC?Shelby Goodwin at Bourbon BattlesWith four bartenders feeling the heat of battle, the lobby of the Calgary Marriott was on fire. Shelby Goodwin of The Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen came out of the gate smokin’ hot. But Madeline MacDonald of Model Milk, Michael Sheppard of the Marriott’s One 18 Empire and Kevin McKee of Marriott Scottsdale all had mighty mixes to muddle. Being polite Canadianas, we pretended not to notice that Marriott had stacked the deck with two of their own bartenders.Madeline MacDonald of Model MilkTo show she wasn’t phased, Model Milk’s Madeline struck a serious pose in between her bar-side dance moves, while the clocked ticked away on a time limit of five minutes for each round.Bourbon Battles CalgaryBoozy brown concoctions of drinkable art ensued.Michael Sheppard, Bourbon Battles CalgaryMichael Sheppard displayed deft dexterity, and, dare I say, unusual technique for the pour? Behind him, after claiming he loved hockey, Arizonian Kevin McKee devised what he hoped would be the drink of champions.Boosters at Bourbon Battles YYCWhile the American contestant’s affection for hockey may have been questioned, his fans could teach us a thing or two about supporting a team.  Bourbon Battles boosters! Bourbon Battles CalgaryHost Heather Greene, spirit expert and NY Times short-listed author, wondered if Kevin’s fans would buoy him to the top spot. Meanwhile, Jonny Knoxville doppelgänger aka Michael took it low. Michael Sheppard Bourbon Battles CalgaryThen popped up all confidence to hustle the bus to the judges.Judges at Bourbon Battles CalgaryThe judges, which included James Addison, vice president of global operations for Marriott in the blue button down, Nathan Head, owner of Milk Tiger, and Terry Rock, self acclaimed Man About Town, were schmoozed as well as served.

Bourbon Battles CalgaryThe judges had a tough decision on their hands, but they managed to sip their way through it.Shelby Goodwin, Derrick Gin Mill & KitchenUltimately, it was Shelby Goodwin of the Derrick who took home the emblazoned bourbon barrel lid. Must have been his muy caliente technique for the old fashioned. He’ll battle again at the finale in New York on June 14, representing Calgary on National Bourbon Day. Congrats Shelby! Kick some bourbon butt in NYC!Blue Besos


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