Photo by Benjamin Smock

Today, the National Restaurant Association announced the first finalist in the annual Star of the Bar mixology competition. Following a live cocktail competition held at Mandalay Bay’s Libertine Social, Adam Rains of Flock and Fowl was crowned the winner of the Las Vegas regional semi-finals. His winning cocktail–Notorious P.I.G.–was judged by Nectaly Mendoza, owner of Herbs & Rye, and local writers Elaine and Scott Harris. 

Produced by the National Restaurant Association in partnership with the United States Bartenders’ Guild, Star of the Bar tasks mixologists in four regional competitions—located in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Chicago—with creating an innovative cocktail for industry judges. Finalists from each market will be flown to Chicago to face off in a live event on May 20 at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show for a chance to win the coveted Star of the Bar title and $5,000 grand prize. Judges for this year’s competition include celebrity mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim, Charles Joly and Dale Degroff.

Rains bested nine other competitors with his Notorious P.I.G. recipe, made with Whistlepig’s 10-Year Rye Whiskey, maple syrup, lychee honey, aquafaba, and lemon. The cocktail is garnished with smoked maldon salt and served alongside applewood-smoked chips for an aromatic flourish. 

“For the competition, I wanted to create a nontraditional Whiskey Sour, in the vein of the classic Penicillin cocktail,” says Rains. “Notorious P.I.G. name is a homage to WhistlePig Whiskey used in the cocktail. The sweetness of the maple syrup and lychee honey play well with the acidity of the lemon. For the garnish, the salt and applewood provide a great savory, aromatic finish.” 

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show runs May 19-22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. 

For more information about this year’s Show, visit

To register to attend visit