OUT caught up with Ricky Orcutt from Club Cafe - the recently named Boston Champion in the 5th Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic - fresh off his win. The Cocktail Classic is Stoli's annual competition recognizing North America's brightest Bar Stars. LGBT bartenders and allies across the U.S. and Canada compete to represent their home city during the Key West Pride Week Finale, June 5-11th, 2018. Here's what Ricky had to say about the competition.
OUT: Congrats on being named the Boston Champion in the 2018 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic! How does it feel to win in the 5th Annual Competition in your hometown?
Ricky Orcutt: After competing the last two years, it feels amazing to finally win. Third time's a charm, I guess.
You were truly #RaisingTheBar with a super creative cocktail, "Stoli Fruit Punch Daiquiri". Can you tell us a little bit about the drink, and your inspiration behind it?
I wanted to make something that people will enjoy drinking. I didn't want something overly complicated or gimmicky. I focused on making something tropical and summery. It is definitely something I would actually drink.
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.
It means everything to me. Working at Club Cafe the past five years has felt like finding a second family. It's provided me with an overwhelming sense of community that I never realized I was missing out on. Hopefully I am able to pass some of that feeling onto other people.
As you know, part of your prize for winning the Boston competition is an all-expense-paid trip to Key West, FL this June. Have you ever been to Key West before? What are you most looking forward to as part of this trip?
I have never been to Key West, but have always wanted to visit. I am mostly looking forward to getting to know all of the amazing people Stoli has gathered from around North America, and hopefully make some new friends.
And if you take home the title, you'll be named Grand Marshall of the Key West Pride Parade. Have you ever been the Grand Marshall of a parade before?
I have never been a Grand Marshall before. I actually have never even marched in a Pride parade before. It would definitely be an experience.
What importance have Pride celebrations had on your life?
Pride celebrations are very important to me. Coming together and celebrating as a community is an indescribable feeling. Being part of that experience for others is a complete honor, and knowing how far the gay community as come just in my lifetime shows how meaningful and important these celebrations are.
In Key West, you'll be competing for a chance to win a portion of $20,000 for your hand-picked charity, Harbor to the Bay. Anything you want to mention on your relationship to that organization, or why you picked it to represent?
Harbor to the Bay is a Boston-based nonprofit charity that donates to four local HIV and AIDS organizations. I definitely feel close to this charity because it is organized by my manager at Club Cafe, and I have participated in its annual AIDS bicycle ride from Boston to Provincetown for three years.
Is there anything you want to say to your competitors as you head into the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic Finale - June 5th - 12th in Key West, FL?
Good luck to everybody! I can't wait to meet you all and try all of your cocktails.
Amazing. Well we can't wait to see what innovative cocktails you stir up this June. Good luck, and know that all of Boston will be rooting for you to keep #RaisingTheBar!