By Joe Bargmann
In late July, more than 150 distillers from 33 states gathered in Washington, D.C., to advocate for more favorable tax laws for the craft-spirits industry. With that many liquor makers on Capitol Hill, where hundreds of thirsty lawmakers and lobbyists work, there was bound to be one helluva happy hour. After all, cocktails are a great equalizer—no matter what our party affiliation, most of us are willing to get together and, well, party.
Rebecca Edwards learned this firsthand. She and her fiancé/coworker, Steve Yang, who both sling drinks at Tavola, were selected to serve the distinguished group of men and women attending the Meet America’s Distillers reception. After the party, Edwards posed with Yang, the Capitol rising in the distance behind them. “Not a bad bartending venue for the night,” she wrote on Instagram. “We had so much fun working…on Capitol Hill!”
Edwards was there, in part, because of her remarkable success this year in bartending competitions. In June, after months of working her mixology magic, she reached the semifinals—with just 14 other contestants—in the United States Bartenders’ Guild World Class competition.
Though she didn’t win overall (“The competition was fierce!” she told us), she did finish among the top four in the speed competition, and—big picture—cemented her position among the nation’s elite bartenders. “I’m just happy to put Charlottesville a little bit more on the map in the craft-cocktail world,” she said.
And that’s exactly what she did.