Connor Mansager of Welcome Diner Declared the 2017 Arizona Star Bartender

Photo: Cocktails and Cactus
Photo: Cocktails and Cactus

On Sunday, February 26, hundreds of cocktail lovers and enthusiasts gathered at the DeSoto Central Market to see who would be declared the 2017 Arizona Star Bartender at the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Heat by heat, the bartenders took to the stage to create a custom cocktail using the provided ingredients, all made with locally distilled spirits from Arizona. Below is the results of each of the heats and the final round:

Heat 1 - Sponsored by Hamilton Distillers Jaong Woo - Otro Cafe Connor Mansager - Welcome Diner Danny Kang - The Gladly Winner: Connor Mansager - Welcome Diner

Heat 2 - Sponsored by O.H.S.O. Distillery Gavin Pena - Clever Koi Liza Loewenhagen - The Vig Manny Pena - The Windsor Winner: Manny Pena - The Windsor

Heat 3 - Sponsored by Paradox Distillery Jake Foster - The Parlor Michael Liberatore - Citizen Public House Matt Minsky - Hula’s Modern Tiki Winner: Jake Foster - The Parlor

Heat 4 - Sponsored by 3 Amigos Tequila Tim Avery - Joyride Taco House Kapono Rowe - DeSoto Central Market Janessa Hilliard - St. Francis Winner: Janessa Hilliard - St. Francis

Final Round - Sponsored by O.H.S.O. Distillery Connor Mansager - Welcome Diner Manny Pena - The Windsor Jake Foster - The Parlor Janessa Hilliard - St. Francis 2017 Arizona Star Bartender: Connor Mansager - Welcome Diner

Note: Welcome Diner originally had Matt Bermudez representing them in the 2017 Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition but, due to an injury, was replaced by Connor Mansager.


Connor’s winning cocktail, titled Love and Squalor, was made with O.H.S.O. Distillery’s Horseradish Vodka, Iconic Cocktail Company’s Meyer Lemon Balm, lemon juice, rose petal jam, beet syrup, ginger sugar rim, and a lemon twist. The cocktail that put Connor into the final round was the Ojos Rojos, made with Hamilton’s Whiskey Del Bac, BroVo Amaro #14, Beet Syrup, and Cowboy Bitters.

Attendees could sample cocktails from all twelve contenders and vote for their favorite using the official ballot. Green Expectations, created by Manny Pena of The Windsor, was a fan favorite and earned the People’s Choice Award. The Green Expectations was made with O.H.S.O. Distillery’s Grapefruit Vodka, BroVo Amaro #14, grapefruit juice, lime juice, cilantro syrup, and aquafaba (bean water). This is the second year in a row that a bartender from The Windsor has won the People’s Choice Award.


The Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition kicks off the weeklong Devour Culinary Classic, the Valley’s premier culinary event. All events are sold out except for Palette to Palate this Thursday March 2, at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. This event blends the visual arts and culinary arts by pairing chefs and painters to interpret each other’s work for a show that is at once unique and insightful into the worlds of the two artists. The evening will feature Arizona wines and award winning chefs, paired with regional artists who will unveil new works at the event. A full lineup of participants will be announced at a later date. Tickets will be $40 each and available for purchase at

The 2017 Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition was made possible with support from Quench Fine Wines, Accurate Signs & Engraving, Bite Magazine, Accurate Companies, Downtown Phoenix Inc., Hey, Bartender!, MR PHX, 3 Amigos Tequila, Phoenix Public Market, DeSoto Central Market, O.H.S.O. Brewery & Distillery, AZ Bitters Lab, Pope Lime Co., Desert Parking, Iconic Cocktail Co., Stern Produce, Premium Pantry Products, Found:RE Hotel, Paradox Distillery, Kalil Bottling Co., Specialty Textile Services, Hamilton Distillers & Whiskey Del Bac, iamchanelle Photography, Pride Group, and Terre Botanical.