Tavola’s Rebecca Edwards: National Bartending Finalist

by Charlottesville29


Photo by Shannon Sturgis.

Rebecca Edwards, of Tavola Cicchetti Bar, has reached the National Finals in the United States Bartenders’ Guild annual World Class bartending competition, sponsored by Diageo. The competition “attracts the country’s best bartenders who represent the craft and elevation of the art of cocktail creation,” says the USBG, “with the ultimate goal of representing the U.S. at the global competition.”

To reach the National Finals, Edwards first had to qualify for the Regional Finals, as determined by an expert panel’s review of a large pool of applicants’ essays and cocktail recipes. Edwards entered the Hestia, which is currently on the cocktail menu at Tavola. It is Zacapa 23 rum, amontillado sherry, coffee liqueur, lemon, and burnt sugar, smoked with applewood.

On the strength of her cocktail and essays, Edwards became one of just ten finalists to reach our area’s Regional Finals, April 28-30 in Minneapolis. There, she competed in three rounds against the best in our region, judged on drink quality, hospitality, presentation, technique, and creativity. First, in the “signature” challenge, entrants created a cocktail inspired by Scotland, host of the this year’s Global Finals. Next, in the “single ingredient” challenge, each entrant chose a single ingredient inspired by their home region, and had to use every part of it to make twists on classic cocktails. From Virginia, Edwards used peanuts, and invented a peanut martini, a peanut margarita, and a peanut old fashioned. Finally, in the “lightening round” challenge, entrants had eight minutes to make six original cocktails, four of which are created in advance, and two of which must be dealer’s choice, invented on the spot. Edwards finished with a full minute to spare. 

The National Finals are June 8-11 in Lexington, and if Edwards were to win that, she’d be off to represent the United States in Global Finals, September in Scotland, for the chance to be named the World Class Bartender of the Year. 

Congratulations to Rebecca. No wonder The Charlottesville 29 called one of her cocktails among the best of 2018.

World class

2019 USBG World Class Southern Regional Finalists, Photo by Shannon Sturgis