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sss Heather Abbott

Walk-On’s bartender wins Shake, Sparkle & Stir contest

Marqui Benavides’ Zicojito nabs her a trip to Tales of the Cocktail

This is part of Nation’s Restaurant News' special coverage of the 2017 MUFSO conference, taking place Oct. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency at Reunion Tower in Dallas. Follow coverage of the event on and tweet with us using #MUFSO. Stay connected on the go by downloading the MUFSO app.

Marqui Benavides, a bartender at the Lubbock, Texas, location of Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar, won the fourth annual Shake, Sparkle & Stir competition at MUFSO on Sunday, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, with her twist on the mojito. 

The Zicojito was made with Bacardi Superior Rum, Zico Coconut Water, Sprite and Barrilitos Pear Cucumber aqua fresca, as well as agave syrup, lime wedges and mint leaves.

Heather Abbott

Benavides was awarded a trip for two to New Orleans to attend the Tales of the Cocktail conference in July 2018, as well as a $500 gift card.

The first runner-up was Cindy Campbell, bartender and bar manager for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, who made the Drunken Pirate, with Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum and Bacardi Superior Rum, along with Sprite, Barrilitos Pear Cucumber and Strawberry Hibiscus aguas frescas, oranges, limes and maraschino cherries.

All entries were required to use at least one Barrilitos Agua Fresca and one other Coke product.

Benavides said during the competition that the drink, with its trendy coconut water, would appeal to both men and women, which is important, given 15-unit Walk-On’s 50/50 male-to-female customer base.

Heather Abbott

Describing the drink in her application for the contest, she said it was creative enough to satisfy adventurous customers while still appealing to more conventional drinkers. 

The competition was judged by Nancy Kruse, president of The Kruse Company; Scott Tipton, beverage director of Bread & Butter Concepts based in Kansas City, Mo., who won the contest last year; and Bret Thorn, Nation’s Restaurant News senior food editor.

The MUFSO Premier sponsor is The Coca Cola Company

Presenting sponsors are: Blount Fine Foods, The Coca Cola Company, UNiDAYS

Kitchen Hero Cook-Off is presented by Texas Pete/TW Garner Food Company

The Hot Concepts Reception is sponsored by Rock & Brews

The Industry Awards Gala is sponsored by Tyson Foods, Daiya Foods, Natural brands

Pillar sponsors are: Alchemy Systems, Bloom Intelligence, Boylan Bottling, Cardlytics, Mainstreet, Inc., Nudge Rewards, S&D Coffee, Smithfield Farmland Foodservice, Sweet Street, Weston Foods, Zenput

The MUFSO app sponsor is Steritech

Refreshment breaks are sponsored by Blount Fine Foods, Boylan Bottling, Royal Cup Coffee, Smithfield Farmland Foodservice, Sweet Street, Ventura Foods, and Weston Foods

The Supplier Exchange Luncheon is sponsored by Hale & Hearty, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and Copper Moon Coffee

The Lanyard & Welcome package is sponsored by Hospitality Mints

MUFSO Breakfast sponsors are Moore’s Food Resources, Community Coffee and Natural Brands

VIP Dinner sponsored by Moment Feed, Pan Pacific Plastics and Rotella’s Bakery

The official music sponsor is Rockbot

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