Uppers and Downers

Here we go — Uppers & Downers Cold Brew Cocktail Competition

Last night's gathering was the second year in a row we've partnered with Tack Room and Infinium Spirits to produce a coffee cocktail competition, of which the winner serves their inspired cocktail at the Uppers & Downers Festival, this Saturday at Thalia Hall. 

Last year we leveled the playing field with a single cocktail, the Irish Coffee, which also unofficially holds the title of the original Upper & Downer. This year we opened the playbook wide, basing cocktail recipes of any sort around a Stumptown Cold Brew and spirits from across the Infinium portfolio, which includes brands like Teeling Whiskey, Templeton Rye, Fernet-Branca, and Antica Formula. 

Nearly a dozen of Chicago's most creative bartenders set up shop in Tack Room around the piano and performed their best for the crowd and the judges, which included Breakthru Beverage's resident spirits expert, Eric Hay. It was a crash-course in cocktail culture for anyone within ear-shot of Eric's inquiries with the bartenders. 

Our winners: 

 3rd place - Clint Rogers, CODA di Volpe

Cafe AmericanoStumptown Infused Carpano Antica, Campari, Coffee Brown Sugar reduction, salt, topo chico, blood orange air


2nd place - Chad Hauge, Longman & Eagle

The Dancing GoateeCarpano Antica, corralejo Añejo, Zaya Rum, Stumptown Cold Brew, Lemon, Smoking Sage


1st place - Brian Tasch, Duseks

Wake & Bake JulepTempleton Rye Whiskey, Branca MentaStumptown Cold Brew Coffee,Black Cardamom & Macadamia Nut SyrupAngostura Bitters, fresh mint

Thanks to everyone who came out last night and packed the house. We can't wait for you to see what we have in store for the rest of the Uppers & Downers fest this weekend. Get your tickets!

Words + Photos by
Michael Kiser

Michael Kiser

Michael is the founder of Good Beer Hunting. He travels the globe — writing, shooting, and collaborating with breweries of all shapes and sizes. This site is his chronicle of a life in beer as he witnesses the cultural explosion first-hand and finds the people, places, and products with amazing stories.

See more stories from Michael

Uppers & Downers™

World Barista Champion, Stephen Morrissey + Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting have been working with some of the most creative brewers and roasters in the country to create and showcase innovative coffee beers, and bring together two of our most progressive craft cultures. Through a series of festivals, educational and competitive events, the series has inspired some amazing creations that explore the edges of our collective palates, technical knowledge, and artistry.

See more Uppers & Downers™ stories