It’s finally happened. The Americans are officially getting hooked on CIGS. Coffee in Good Spirits, or CIGS as it is often called, has been a smokin’ hot part of the World Coffee Events competition canon for many years now, but it is—somewhat inexplicably—just now making its way to the United States, with its first official appearance taking place this weekend in Denver at the US Coffee Championships Qualifying Event. Luckily we’ve been covering the World event since 2014, when some dude you’ve probably never heard of named Matt Perger won it all, so we thought we’d put together a little primer for our American audience on what to expect when you’re expecting to watch the Coffee in Good Spirits Competition at the US Coffee Championships.

SprudgeLive’s coverage of the 2019 US Coffee Champs is made possible by Joe Glo and Mahlkönig. All of SprudgeLive’s 2019 competition coverage is made possible by Acaia, Baratza, FaemaCafe Imports, and Wilbur Curtis.

CIGS is basically the signature beverage portion of the Barista Championship on steroids. Well, steroids and alcohol. For the CIGS Qualifying Event, barkeepers will have to undergo a truncated version of the World competitions, Specifically, the Stage Presentation portion. According to the 2018 Rules and Regulations, in the Stage Presentation competitors have 10 minutes to create “two (identical) hot/warm coffee and alcohol-based designer drinks and two (identical) cold coffee and alcohol-based designer drinks.”

For Denver, participants are required to use vodka in either their hot or cold beverages (or both) as well as the provided espresso machine to make one or both of their drinks.

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So now that you have the general idea of the format, what can you expect to see? In short, some shit. You’re gonna see some shit. We’re talking fire, ice, smoke machines, friggin’ sabres.

Cantankerous whosiewhatsits, spendifoulrus dippledidoos, you name it.

Did I mention friggin’ sabres?

Needless to say, it’s going to be w-w-w-w-wild.

And just because this is the first run of the Coffee in Good Spirits championship doesn’t mean the competitors are new to this sort of thing. Smart money is on Kasey Headley to move on to the national stage of competition, who nearly missed the semi-final round of London Coffee Masters with his own coffee cocktail.

If you like the fireworks and the all-out wackiness of the signature beverage portion of the Barista Championship, then you are going to love the Coffee in Good Spirits Championship. If you’re in Denver this weekend, you’re not going to want to miss a minute.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

All images from Day One and Day Two coverage of the 2015 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship.

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