OUT caught up with Kayla Hasbrook - the recently crowned New York City Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic - fresh off her win. The Cocktail Classic is Stoli's annual competition to find North America's Number One Bartender. LGBTQ bartenders and allies across the U.S. and Canada will compete to represent their home city on the grand stage of cocktail mixology during Pride Week, June 7-11th, in Key West, Florida. Here's what Kayla had to say about the competition.
OUT: Kayla, congrats on being named the NYC Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic! How does it feel?
Kayla: I am stoked to to have won NYC regional! I'm feeling proud and excited, and cannot wait to rep New York in the Final!
You were able to get an edge up on the rest of your NYC competitors with a super fun cocktail, "The Cat's Meow". Can you tell us a little bit about the drink, and your inspiration behind it?
Stoli and OUT asked that we pick a theme for our round that was related to a previous decade. I decided to go with the 1920s, which is how I came up with the name "the Cats Meow". I wanted to choose a name that signified something sassy, stylish and setting trends- everything Stoli, myself and OUT represent.
Stoli Premium vodka is so fresh and light! I knew I wanted to highlight these flavors with the freshness of muddled cucumber and pineapple juice. I decided to add turmeric for subtle element of spice, as well as the gorgeous color.
The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic honors the unique legacy of gay bars as original safe spaces and community centers and the role our bartenders have played as hosts and caretakers throughout history. Tell us about what your role as a nightlife professional means to you.
I love creating guests experiences, whether it's for a first date, night out with friends, or even a solo venture. It's my job to read the situation- so if someone needs an out from a bad Tindr date, or wants to make anniversary night special I'm your girl. I always come in with the goal of creating a safe space within my bar for anyone that I'm hosting.
As you know, part of your prize for winning the NYC competition is an all-expense-paid trip to Key West, FL this June. Have you ever been to Key West before?
No, but heard amazing things! I cannot wait to be a part of Pride in Key West!
And in Key West, you'll be competing for a chance to win $2,500 to $7,500 for your hand-picked charity, Planned Parenthood. Anything you want to mention on your relationship to Planned Parenthood, or why you picked them to represent?
Woman's healthcare is everyone's issue, but more importantly I recognize Planned Parenthood as a safe space for anyone who walks through their doors.
As an industry professional, health insurance is something many of us are not afforded an option for, so Planned Parenthood has been an integral part of my own personal health for over a decade.
PP is one of the first LGBT safe spaces that I ever came into contact with, and with the current state of our nation it was an obvious choice for me.
Any advice (or trash talk!) for your competitors as you head into the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic Finale - June 7th - 12th in Key West, FL?
Trash talk is unbecoming of a lady but one thing I will say to my competitors is come correct, I hate to lose.
Amazing. Well we can't wait to see what innovative cocktails you stir up this June. Good luck, and know that all of NYC will be rooting for you!
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