ITHACA, N.Y.(WENY)-- Throughout the month of October, Five & 20 spirits is hosting a cocktail competition but, the key ingredient has to be their Rye Whiskey. During the month of October, Rye Week is recognized on a state level due to the versatility of the plant. Alex Gherardi is the bar supervisor at Monks on the Commons, and has entered the rye whiskey competition this month. He was inspired after one of his coworkers told him time and time again that he should try making a drink using a specific kind of shrub. After experimenting and taste testing, he created something that he was extremely proud of and thought it could be a possible winner of this competition. 

"This is the kind of thing that I really love about my job, is getting to not just make delicious drinks but also tell a story in those drinks and create a cocktail that also is implicit of a place and maybe of a time as well," Alex tells WENY News. 

During the month long competition, participants are encouraged to create stories with their concoctions. Alex was not only able to create one story with his drink, but was able to make it develop over time and did so using ingredients sourced right here in New York. 

"The apple cider comes from Beak and Skiff, the Rye is a local New York Rye, the ginger beer is from Ithaca, the shrub and the bitters are made in house. So for me it was an exciting way to show case this area and sort of the flavors of this area especially in this season," say Gherardi. 

Alex may be the original creator of the Great Schema, but all of the bartenders at Monks on the Commons are able to create the drink and talk about everything that goes into it, from the ingredients to the origin of the name. 

"They can tell you the story behind it. I think that if you come in you will experience a drink that goes beyond maybe a standard Rye Cocktail. It is a drink that I again hope evolves as you drink it.  It tells a story both of this area, of this season and maybe a historical story of monks at the same time," Gherardi tells WENY News. 

The competition will be running until October 31st, and then a winner will be announced towards the beginning of November. 

For the list of all six participating locations and how you can vote for your favorite creation, you can click here