Eight Grand Rapids bartenders competed in the Battle of the West, a cocktail contest hosted at the B.O.B. for the title of ‘Best Bartender in West Michigan.’
This year’s reigning champ is Jeremy Williams of the Lumber Baron bar, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, for his cocktail named, “The Spyglass.”
“The cocktail is inspired by Robert Lewis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island,'” said Williams. “The book has a special place in my heart, and is the story I’ve lately been reading to my wife and unborn son, who becomes particularly active when he hears me read it! So, I can’t help but believe he already has a taste for adventure!”
“I discovered my passion for spirits and cocktails eight years ago after stepping behind the bar back home in Southern California. Since then, I’ve pushed myself to refine the craft and sought to learn all I could. I tend bar at the Lumber Baron and have helped create the best bar program the bar has ever seen.”
The Lumber Baron is known for elevating classic cocktails with housemade ingredients and unique cocktails with creative ingredients. They also have a blind wine list, which lists out wines based on the characteristics of the wine — that way they can offer wines based on guests’ preference and introduce them to new things.
When asked about his perspective on craft-cocktail trends and how they’re taking root in Grand Rapids, Williams sees single-village mezcal, Old Tom gin, and Amaro on the rise.
“In larger cities, these have earned their place on back bars, cocktail menus and in guests hearts. I think Grand Rapids will follow in stride as bar patrons and bartenders keep learning about spirits.”
- 2-ounces Ron Zacapa
- 1/4-ounce Lagavulin 16
- 1-ounce lime sorbet
- 1/2-ounce fresh lemon
- 3/4-ounce mulled pineau des Charentes
- 1 dash apricot bitters
- Garnish is a dehydrated lemon wheel and a spritz of Lagavulin 16.