OUT caught up with Tim Stone from MJ's on Jefferson - the recently named Ohio 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 Tim had to say about the competition.
OUT: Congrats on being named the Ohio Champion in the 2018 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic! How does it feel to win in the 5th Annual Competition in your hometown?
Tim Stone: I'm humbled! It's such a great feeling getting all of the support that I have received. It's nice to be able to represent an establishment that means so much to me.
You were truly #RaisingTheBar with a super creative cocktail, “Stoli Watermelon Mint Mojito”. Can you tell us a little bit about the drink, and your inspiration behind it?
Summer refreshment! That was my inspiration. Growing up in southern Kentucky, watermelon means summer. I wanted to create something that took me back there, and the fresh mint just makes it even more refreshing.
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'm that sense of relief after a long day of work. I work to create an atmosphere where you can not only wind down from a stressful day, but you can feel free to be YOU! There is absolutely zero judgement about anyone who walks through our door, and I believe that's what sets us apart.
As you know, part of your prize for winning the Ohio 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've never been, and I'm beyond excited! As far as what I'm looking forward to the most? Winning! Bringing home a donation to an amazing charity.
In Key West, you’ll be competing for a chance to win a portion of $20,000 for your hand-picked charity, B.R.A.V.O. Anything you want to mention on your relationship to that organization, or why you picked it to represent?
B.R.A.V.O., the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, provides resources to anyone that has been a victim of violence. They are able to help people who have suffered from hate crimes, domestic violence, or any violent act.
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?
What importance have Pride celebrations had on your life?
#Equality! It brings together communities. Not just the LGBT community, but all communities come out to show support. It's amazing.
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?
Congrats for making it to Key West; good luck!
Amazing. Well we can’t wait to see what innovative cocktails you stir up this June. Good luck, and know that all of Ohio will be rooting for you to keep #RaisingTheBar!
To keep up with Tim and the rest of the action in the 5th Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, visit OUT.com/KeyWestCocktailClassic.