Black Creek Arts hosts signature cocktail competition

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

Black Creek Arts Council in Hartsville hosted a fun charity event last week – a mixology competition where guest barkeeps whipped up custom cocktails for guests. Proceeds from the event benefit arts and community engagement programs at Black Creek.

The winner of the night’s Best Mixologist award was John Crawley with his Cucumber Foxtini. John teamed with Dan Askins III at their F3 Nation bar.

“We’re offering a Cucumbertini, which has vodka, simple syrup, triple sec, lime juice,” said mixologist Crawley, adding that the key is to muddle slices of fresh cucumber and shake all ingredients thoroughly to incorporate that unique fresh flavor into the drink.

“We’re not bartenders, but on the F3 workout site (, I post a lot of pictures of the drinks I have when I travel, and one of them is the Cucumbertini. All the guys give me hard time about it,” said Crawley. “Dan told me when this event came up that I needed to make that Cucumbertini that I’m always talking about, so here we are.”

The winners of the best decorated bar were Dave Hoffman and Brad Pederson. Their bar name was Two Dudes and a Drink and they were serving Insane Shark Bites.

“It’s a shot made with rum and Jell-O and a little gummy shark. Add a little food color and make it look like water – it’s supposed to be Caribbean blue,” said Hoffman.

The other competitors were Black Creek Bistro, Sam Kendall’s and Black Creek Arts Council.

Black Creek Arts whipped up an unusual take on sangria by adding the richness of bourbon and blackberries.

“We have our annual auction coming up in February, and we’ve been talking about doing a menu with tapas and sangria, so we thought this would be a good place to try and see if we could create a little different take on traditional sangria,” said Allison Pederson, director of Black Creek Arts.

“We muddled blackberries and sour cherries, so it’s rich, it’s warming, and you get a nice burst of flavor with the bourbon, but it’s not overpowering,” said Matthew Reaves, representing Black Creek Arts.

Downtown restaurant Sam Kendall’s took the opportunity to create an original cocktail and honor the passing of a favorite customer, John Foster III. A sign at their table featured a photo of Foster and the inscription “Thank you for your constant encouragement and smiling face. We will miss you dearly.”

“I’m doing a bananas foster drink in memory of John Foster, who was a regular at our bar and a great member of our community, so this drink is to commemorate him. It has RumChata, Captain Morgan, Buttershots liqueur, and banana liqueur. It has a cinnamon taste, it’s really creamy and tastes great,” said Nicole Jones, representing Sam Kendall’s.
The table for local favorite eatery Black Creek Bistro served up a unique twist on the classic margarita.

“It’s a margarita Italiano, our spin on a margarita,” said Danny Ingram. “A margarita traditionally has something sweet and sour. This has amaretto, a silver tequila, triple sec, and orange juice with fresh fruit. We think it balances very well.”

Guests were offered samples of each cocktail, and could choose one full drink to enjoy along with a selection of hors d’oeuvres. After taking a lap of the lounge, guests voted on their favorite mixed drink, and their favorite table decorations.

For more information on future events at Black Creek Arts Council, call 843.332.6234 or visit them online at Find more photos from the event here.

Author: mrollins

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