On Monday at the Dallas ultralounge Candleroom, no one could hold a candle to Sean Conner’s mixology skills. As a result, he could make the cover of GQ Magazine.
Conner, Bar Manager at Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, won the Dallas finals of the 2011 Nation’s Most Inspired Bartender Search, presented by GQ magazine and Bombay Sapphire. He will represent Dallas in the national Most Inspired contest on Sept. 11-13 at The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., the winner of which will be a cover model for GQ, among other accolades.
“It was awesome, and a lot of fun,” Conner said. “I was in the company of a lot of great bartenders from the area, and to win the contest against them was a real honor and a sweet rush.”
Sean’s winning cocktail was one of Whiskey Cake’s signatures “with a twist”: the Wabbit Smash with Bombay Sapphire gin (a required ingredient) as well as ginger-infused local honey, mint, and fresh lemon and baby carrot juices. Mixologist/sommelier Kate Gerwin of Casa Vieja in Corrales, New Mexico, helped judge the Dallas preliminaries, which was filmed by a video crew, while drinks from the contest’s eight finalists were assessed by local nightlife journalist Kevin Gray and reps from Republic National Distributing Company and Bombay Sapphire.
In April, Conner was among the three finalists in the National Restaurant Association’s 2011 “Star of the Bar” Mixology Competition at the NRA’s annual convention in April in Chicago. One of Conner’s bar charges at Whiskey Cake, Bonnie Wilson, also placed in the top eight with her blueberry and citrus juice-based Blueberry Fizz.
The national Most Inspired winner will be featured on the cover of the upcoming Men of the Year advertorial issue of GQ, one of America’s preeminent men’s interest periodicals. Last year’s winner was Jason Asher of Phoenix, Ariz.
Whiskey Cake is a “farm-to-fork, garden-to-glass” restaurant that serves seasonally-rotating, Southern-influenced menus of cuisine and libations made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients – some of which are grown on the premises.