A large love-in recently took place in Edmonton during the Made with Love cocktail competition held at North 53. Sure, the booze may have contributed to the hugging and high-fiving that increased through the course of the evening, but regardless, it was wonderful spectacle to witness.

It’s no secret: as far as Edmonton’s food and drink scene goes, we love us and we’re not shy in showing it.

Made with Love was born in 2009 and has garnered the title of being the largest mixology competition in Canada. The contest’s mission, according to the website, is to “demystify the cocktail culture and to offer a unique experience where creativity and diversity come together in a casual environment.”

Or simply put: a ton of fun, a heap of talent, and a whole lot of lemon and lime juice everywhere.

Twenty-one competitors shook, stirred and in some cases, sprayed their inventions into coupes, flutes and Nick and Noras. Not sure who had it tougher: the contestants racing the clock, creating drinks on the fly in an unfamiliar setting, or the judges—including Calgary’s Master Cocktologist, Jeff Savage, Edmonton’s Baconhound, and yours truly—who had to remain cognizant and sober through the tasting of 21 cocktails.

This qualifying round at North 53 brought some of Edmonton’s best mixers to the yard. If you missed it, don’t panic: you can be a part of all the feel goods on July 24 during the Regionals held at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.

Tickets are available at www.enjoymadewithlove.com and include a complete tasting of all showcased cocktails, a selection of food pairings, a welcome cocktail, and the privilege to vote for your favourite cocktail creation and favourite BarChef!

Winners of the Public’s Choice and Judges’ Choice, will represent Edmonton at the National Finals in May 2018 to vie for the coveted title of best BarChef in the country and have a chance to win a trip to Italy, Nicaragua, France, Kentucky, or Spain as guests of the sponsoring distilleries.

Come out and cheer these folks on! Edmonton’s regional competitors are Tyler Gushaty (North 53), Leland Morrison (Black Pearl), Moe Mardani (Fairmont Hotel Macdonald), Jared Schmidt (Biera), Callum Walsh (El Cortez), Jesse Werkman (Alta), Dylan Zrobek (District), Rodney Derksen (Have Mercy), Desmond Malliaros (Situation Brewing), Corey Wilfert (Rostizado), Nathan Hewitt (Nineteen), Chris Strong (Strong Bartending),  and independent, Alex Kagel.

Can’t make it to Edmonton’s next Made with Love love-in? Head south for the Calgary regionals on July 31. It won’t be—it couldn’t possibly be—as huggy-kissy, fist-bumping, I-love-you-man as Edmonton’s…or could it? Follow @_MadeWithLove_ on Twitter to find out!

All photo credit goes to Jordan Gooden: Instagram: @ExperimentalExperience and Twitter: @JordanGoode.  Follow him!