The foodservice industry toasts to the “Banana Danza” cocktail at the 2015 NRA Show’s official after-party Restaurants Rock.

The National Restaurant Association announces today Meaghan Montagano from Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, New York, as the 2015 Star of the Bar, a national cocktail competition hosted by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and BAR (Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants) at the NRA Show. Montagano was crowned in front of a live audience at last night’s Restaurants Rock party at House of Blues Chicago, emceed by Geoffrey Zakarian, renowned chef and television personality. Judges for the event included acclaimed chef Maneet Chauhan, pioneering mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, and Eater Chicago Editor Daniel Gerzina. In addition to bragging rights for the year, she walks away with a $5,000 check.

Montagano won for her unconventional Banana Danza cocktail featuring Casamigos Anejo with banana du bresil, dry curacao, lemon juice and chocolate bitters. She garnished the cocktail with microplaned chocolate and nasturtium flowers and kept things green with biodegradable straws.

After six regional finals held in various cities across the country, Montagano was the New York finalists who was flown to Chicago to demonstrate her cocktail on the BAR show floor this weekend. Three mixologists were chosen by BAR guests to proceed to the final competition at Restaurants Rock, and Montagano went head to head with Elmer Mijanicanos of San Francisco’s Tony’s Pizza Neapolitana and Madison Burch of Atlanta’s Seven Lamps on Sunday night. Montagano  shook up her “Banana Danza” cocktail with Casamigos Tequila in front of the judges and amongst a crowd of cocktail enthusiasts, ultimately winning her the Star of the Bar title.

Meaghan Montagano

Meaghan Montagano

Photo Courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

Montagano won for her unconventional Banana Danza cocktail featuring Casamigos Anejo with banana du bresil, dry curacao, lemon juice and chocolate bitters. She garnished the cocktail with microplaned chocolate and nasturtium flowers and kept things green with biodegradable straws.

After six regional finals held in various cities across the country, Montagano was the New York finalists who was flown to Chicago to demonstrate her cocktail on the BAR show floor this weekend. Three mixologists were chosen by BAR guests to proceed to the final competition at Restaurants Rock, and Montagano went head to head with Elmer Mijanicanos of San Francisco’s Tony’s Pizza Neapolitana and Madison Burch of Atlanta’s Seven Lamps on Sunday night. Montagano shook up her “Banana Danza” cocktail with Casamigos Tequila in front of the judges and amongst a crowd of cocktail enthusiasts, ultimately winning her the Star of the Bar title.

Banana Danza

Banana Danza

Photo Courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

The Winning Cocktail: Banana Danza

By Meaghan Montagano

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Casamigos Anejo
  • 1 3/4 oz. Banane Du Bresil
  • 3/4 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon
  • 2 dashes Bittermens Mole bitters
  • 2 dashes Hella Aromatic bitters

Garnished with nutmeg, shaved chile chocolate, expressed and discarded lemon twist – edible flower

For more information, visit the NRA Show and BAR websites at Restaurant.org/Show and Restaurant.org/BAR.