It’s been three years but it’s finally back … the Iron TikiTender!
At the beginning of 2018, there was a rumor going around that the Iron TikiTender would be coming back to Tiki Kon. Everyone was excited, especially me! The last one was in 2015 and I started going to Tiki Kon the following year, talk about being a day late and a dollar short!
Short video clips started appearing on Instagram of possible contestants pleading their case on why they should be chosen. Some of these videos were very well made, funny and entertaining, but it all came down to tiki drink recipes. Many people tried and these three made it … Jeanie Grant, Mark Hooper and Kelly Merrell.
There was a high level of excitement and anticipation Saturday evening, and the main ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel was packed! This was my view …
Blair Reynolds … the man behind BG Reynolds Syrups and the Iron TikiTender asked me to be a “commentator” for the competition, which means I was to provide witty banter with my good buddy Jason T. Smith as the drinks were being made.
I hope we did a good job cracking jokes and keeping things interesting while the drinks and garnishes were being made.
The judges for this year’s Iron Tiki Tender were … Janice Kleyla, Jason Alexander and John Coyle.
For the first round, the contestants needed to make twenty …YES, TWENTY Mai-Tais!
And …they were off.
Jeanie finished her Mai Tai’s first!
For the second round, the contestants needed to come up with the biggest, craziest garnish they could come up with …
Mark finished first with bananas rowing a boat …
Jeanie was next with this HUGE garnish featuring bananas carved into Moais.
And Kelly was last with a garnish that rotated like a carousel!
Jeanie knocked it out of the park again and won the garnish round as well!
The last and final round was the mystery ingredient round. The contestants needed to come up with a drink using Rum Fire and one of BG Reynolds’s new syrups. The choices were: Honey Mix, Fassionola or Devil’s Reef Pineapple Molasses.
The contestants chose their ingredients and got down to business …
I got to taste all of their drinks and they were all incredible. I know it was tough for the judges … Jeanie, Kelly and Mark were all incredible!
But … there could only be one winner and that person was Jeanie!
Jeanie won the Iron TikiTender! And a trip to Jamaica!
Congratulations Jeanie! You earned it!
I’d like to thank Sveinn Kjartansson for all the pictures used for this post.