Iron Mixologist

   Photo Credit: Jones Oliver

Iron Mixologist features bartenders from around the state of Oregon. Mixologists mix off in a competition of who can make the best drinks, featuring sprits from the Bite's very own Distiller's Row. Each mixologist will have three rounds at five minutes each, to plan and prepare a mixed drink for the 3-judge panel of experts. Each Mixologist will have no idea what the “secret spirits” are until they are unveiled at the beginning of each round for all to see. The secret spirit must be used in preparing the drinks.

The Mixologists will race the clock and each other on stage in front of the audience, commentators, and judges. At the end of each round, the chefs will present their creations to each judge.

Appearing on the Dining Out in the NorthWest Chef's Stage presented by Food Services of America

Round 1 - Saturday, August 13 @ 3:45 p.m.: Janelle Sundby vs. Morgan Pharis

Round 2 - Saturday, August 13 @ 6:15 p.m.: Chef Justin Lee vs. Chef Billy Buscher

Semi Final - Sunday, August 14 @ 1:45 p.m.: Round 1 Winner vs. Round 2 Winner

Final - Sunday, August 14 @ 3:45 p.m.: Semi Final Winner vs. 2015 Iron Mixologist Winner

2016 Iron Mixologist Competitors

Janelle Sundby

The Cheerful Tortoise

Bartending started out as fast money for Janelle and quickly became a passion. She found herself wanting to know as much as possible. She would work where she could gain the knowledge in an area she was unfamiliar of. She loves the creativity, the craft, and that it is always changing!

She is the Operations Manager for the Cheerful Tortoise which allows her to continue with leadership, keep up in her trade and to run the show! What's not to love about that?!

Bourbon is her drink of choice and she also loves a great glass of wine.


Morgan Pharis

Board Restaurant

Morgan Pharis is the Bar Manager and head of Cocktail Program at Board Restaurant where he has been tending bar for 9 years. You may also have seen him at Starlight Lounge, June at Midtown, or The Cannery.

Morgan says he often has more food driven cocktails but loves the classics, and enjoys riffing on them as well. He participated in Eugene Bartender Wars where he finished 2nd in 2012 and 1st in 2013.

Morgan also participated in Eugene Battledish in 2013 where and placed silver and bronze in the best cocktail category.


Conner Slevin

Oven and Shaker

Conner inherited a love for food and hospitality from his mother. Utilizing that, he started working in kitchens; dishwasher to prep cook, pantry to grill.

An opportunity arose to start bar backing at a wine bar he was working at and he took it giving him his first glimpse at front of house life. From there, he moved to fine dining, helping him shape his outlook on total guest experience as well as expanding his concepts of flavor combinations. At that point, his teeth were cut and he was working fully in front of house.

A position to learn a full liquor bar at Oven and Shaker under Ryan Magarian came up and he jumped on it. Bar tending fills his need for creativity while offering the ability to fully customize guests' experience. Long story short, he shakes, he stirs and he has a great time doing it!


Cliff Dibelka

The VIntage Cocktail Lounge

As bartender at The Vintage Cocktail Lounge, Cliff Dibelka brings his signature flair to the Portland crafted cocktail scene. A former cook, Cliff became interested in the possibilities presented by unusual spirits, classic mixes and new flavor profiles.

Cliff grew up "around Southern California," and moved to Portland in 2000. While working at McMenamins Thompson Brewery & Public House, he began fantasizing about scotch and cocktails. “I was trying all the classics, reading up on the history,” Cliff remembers. Cliff spent his early bartending years “banging out drinks, tasting, learning,” and soaking up all information he could. In 2012, he was asked to join the crew at The Vintage Cocktail Lounge.

Cliff's thoughts on being at The Vintage Cocktail Lounge: to have visitors constantly engaged, entertained and educated, all while feeling right at home. As far as cocktails go, he says, “I’m a fan of aggressive flavors. Bold whiskies and cool ingredients to take it to the next level.” And while his personal favorite elixir is currently scotch, it changes.

He’s making quite a name for himself. Visit The Vintage Cocktail Lounge and see why.
Oh yeah.....did we mention he invented the coconut? It's true.


2015 Iron Mixologist Winner

Matt Talavera


Twenty-five years old--born in Laguna Niguel California, raised in Tucson Arizona. My craft was shaped and sculpted down in the Southwest and a lot of my cocktail ideas and influences come from experiences and memories there. 

Favorite drink to make? "Vodka, not too sweet." When I'm out, you'll usually catch me with a Vieux Carre or Three Dots and a Dash.



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