I received this in my inbox last week:
TO: All Participants
WHAT: Tales of the Cocktail, the annual culinary and cocktail festival, features a Cocktail Competition to determine the “official cocktail” of the event. Bartenders local and nation-wide submitted recipes for the competition.
Moët & Chandon White Star Champagne was a required ingredient for the official cocktail. The official cocktail will be featured and served throughout the Tales of the Cocktail event, July 18-22, and on the website. Winners will receive cash prizes and be featured in Culinary Concierge Magazine and the book “101 Champagne Cocktails”
WHEN: Tuesday, April 17th, 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room (rooftop), 214 Royal Street , New Orleans
So what, right? Well, I mention this because it signals the fact that I have finally entered my first cocktail competition. I guess I got so inspired watching my friends compete in Vegas that I felt I was finally ready to throw my hat into a bigger ring than the Sexiest Bartender in Eugene, Oregon competition.
So I entered. And it was tougher than I thought it would be. First off, we were required to use Moët & Chandon White Star Champagne. Fine, I thought, even though I didn’t have a lot of experience making Champage-based cocktails. I can throw something together, right?
You also have to pick an ingredient from Column ‘A’, the rules stated. Okay. What else?
We’d really like it if you picked an ingredient from Column ‘B’ as well. Yikes. Alright. I can still do this. What’s next?
You only get to use five ingredients total. You mean, I have to use one of those, one of those, and one of those, and I only get to pick two of my own?
So I packed up my shaker and headed down to El Vaquero the next morning to try out some recipes. What I came up with seemed pretty good to everyone I had try it, and I was pretty pleased with myself. I sent my recipe off, sat back, and waited for my big check in the mail.
Then I got the email. And my heart sank. CC’d alongside my name were the other contestants. I’m going up against some of the best bartenders in the country tomorrow. People like:
- Cheryl Charming from MissCharming.com
- Martin Cate from Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
- Jon Pogash from The Cocktail Guru and Ardent Spirits
- My friend Jacques Bezuidenhout, Brand Ambassador for Partida Tequila
- Jamie Boudreau from SpiritsAndCocktails.com (Have you seen this guy’s drinks? Jeeeeez!
- Jeff Hollinger from Absinthe in San Francisco, and author of The Art of the Bar
- Sean Bigley from the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Ultimate Bar Chef
Needless to say, kids, that’s a really burly lineup. So please, do a me a favor and keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow, and just pray that I don’t come in dead last.
I’ll print my recipe when the dust settles. Thank you.