OUT caught up with Cory Z. from The Abbey Food and Bar - the recently named Los Angeles Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic - fresh off his 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 Cory had to say about the competition.
OUT: Cory, congrats on being named the Los Angeles Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic! How does it feel?
Cory Z.: It feels amazing! I still can't believe I won!
You were able to get an edge up on the rest of your Los Angeles competitors with a super creative cocktail, “Marcujá”. Can you tell us a little bit about the drink, and your inspiration behind it?
My drink "Marcujá" is a sour yet sweet drink. The secret ingredient is passion fruit. That's where the name "Marcujá" comes from; it means passionfruit in Portuguese.
As you know, part of your prize for winning the Los Angeles competition is an all-expense-paid trip to Key West, FL this June. Have you ever been to Key West before?
Yes, I've been to key west a couple of times before. I thought it was beautiful. I've never been there for Pride, though. I'm super excited!
And in Key West, you’ll be competing for a chance to win $2,500 to $7,500 for your hand-picked charity, Covenant House. Anything you want to mention on your relationship to them, or why you picked them to represent?
I picked Covenant House because it helps shelter homeless youth. A lot of teens' families throw them out for being LGBTQ. The suicide rate has risen quite a bit in the past few years. No one should ever feel alone or not wanted. Covenant House offers them shelter and someone to talk to.
Amazing. 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?
Lol, nah I don't need to trash talk. I'm excited to try everyone's special concoction. The best advice I can give is to just have fun with it and you'll kill it.
Well we can’t wait to see what innovative cocktails you stir up this week. Good luck, and know that all of Los Angeles will be rooting for you!
To keep up with Cory and the rest of the action in the 4th Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, visit OUT.com/KeyWestCocktailClassic.