Annual cocktail conference about to get 86'd: Dallas bartender's spirits venture will host bar battle

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Spirits from The 86 Co.

The 86 Co.'s signature vodka and rum

A coup for Dallas’ Jason Kosmas and his new spirits venture, The 86 Co.: The brand has been chosen to host this year’s Bare Knuckle Bar Fight at July’s annual Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) conference in New Orleans.

The event, held toward the conference’s end, is this year’s version of the previously named Bar Room Brawl, wherein a number of selected bar staffs around the country battle for bragging rights as judges assess their ability to churn out drinks in the midst of a massive, party-type atmosphere.

The event’s primary spirits will come from The 86 Co., which Kosmas launched earlier this year with esteemed barmen Simon Ford (former brand expert for Pernod Ricard USA), Dushan Zaric (co-owner with Kosmas of New York’s Employees Only bar). They include Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Cana Brava Rum, Tequila Cabeza and the highly rated Ford’s Gin.

Del Maguey Vida mezcal will also be represented at the event.

“(TOTC founder) Ann (Tuennerman) wanted to give us an opportunity,” Kosmas said. “It makes perfect sense for us.

“The Bar Room Brawl has been such an iconic part of Tales, and as the festival gets bigger, we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Participants and judges are expected to be announced on May 1.

— Marc Ramirez, @typewriterninja

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