Usually the cocktail hour is held at the numerous restaurants and bars in Atlanta after work on weekdays.

However, the High Museum of Art’s third annual Highball fundraiser for the Midtown venue is taking a different approach this year, according to the museum’s special events coordinator, Ariel Balliste.

Fourteen of the most talented Atlanta mixologists will face off in the event, an exclusive craft cocktail competition fundraiser featuring libations, light bites and lively music, Aug. 11 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at The Fairmont in west Midtown.

A news release on the event stated it will have a “Sunday Funday” theme this year, with each bartender creating his or her best brunch-inspired drink.

“Highball has given our patrons a unique and festive opportunity to raise a glass in celebration and support of the arts,” Allison Chance, the High’s director of development, said in the release. “We are very excited to see what the competitors mix up for this year’s theme and to toast the laid-back and sundrenched brunch atmosphere.”

The 14 competing bartenders were hand-selected by the event’s host committee. They are: Fernando Alonso of Casi Cielo, James Cramer of Biltong Bar, Greg Emilio of Bellina Alimentari, Baylee Hopings of Empire State South, Erika Moore of Parlor, Colten Murry of 9 Mile Station, Mitchell Oliver of King of Pops Beach Bar, Don Pirone of Brezza Cucina, Gabriella Ramel of Iberian Pig Buckhead, Mathew Riggins of Negril Village Atlanta, Tokiwa Sears of Bar Margot, Jessica Smith of Urban Tree Cidery, Nik Soukavong of Little Trouble and Zee Zammit of The Consulate Atlanta.

Balliste said the event raised more than $50,000 last year, with those funds benefiting the museum’s educational programs and general operations.

“I am very excited about the event this year as we are trying something new,” she said. “For the last couple of years, we have had this competition as a day-night or Saturday-only event, but this year we decided to make it a Sunday brunch.”

Balliste said for the Sunday afternoon affair in August, the weather will be great, the food will be great, “and people will enjoy some fine cocktails, made by 14 of the finest bartenders in Atlanta.”

Each bartender will create a sample of their best cocktails for guests to try and then vote on, she said. The actual judging of the best cocktail will be done by three judges, including Randy Hayden, who won the competition last year.

This is the second year Oliver is competing in the Highball, which he called a great deal of fun for everyone.

“It is also a cool way to bring together a lot of good Atlanta bartenders, and I really enjoy representing King of Pops at this event,” he said.

Tickets are $75 for High members and $95 for nonmembers, and benefactor packages with exclusive benefits begin at $500. For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, visit


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