Contestants competed in similar events at local restaurants beginning in early October to qualify for the 2011 Barcraft competition that was held during this year's Taste of Atlanta festival. Unlike the preliminary rounds, finalists were given no forewarning regarding the ingredients that would be available the day of the event, and were required to come up with original recipes on the spot.
"The coolest thing," she says, "is finally getting together to watch your peers at work." For finalists Arianne Fielder of Ormsby's and Tyler Nelson of Leon's Full Service "work" was particularly stressful that day. "I purposely left out gin and whiskey," Chardin says, "and included obscure ingredients such as horn melon and tamarind."
The finalists were given a period of fifteen minutes to survey the available spirits and ingredients, and to decide on a plan of action. Competition judges Andy Minchow of H&F, last year's winner, Paul Calvert of Pura Vida and chef Shane Devereux of Top Flr were on hand, prepared to evaluate each bartender's final cocktail based on four criteria: Originality of the name, Originality of the cocktail, Overall taste and Presentation. Sponsored by Fernet Branca, the event's final kicker was that each bartender must include Fernet in their cocktail.
Up first, Fielder of Ormsby's went the seasonal route, mixing a rum-based cocktail called the Caribbean Hayride. "I had no idea what to expect," says Fielder, "they told me to bring tools, so I brought every tool I could possibly think of."
In the end, Nelson's Luchador Cocktail reigned supreme. Charles Gilbert, USBG member and emcee of this year's competition, was able to taste and enlighten us on both entries. "The Caribbean Hayride was nice and balanced. The Zaya rum gave the cocktail an aged whiskey feel," Gilbert says. Although he concluded that both cocktails were exemplary, he felt that the best drink ultimately won. "Nelson's Luchador Cocktail was very well balanced. There was little residual sugar, and I think his cocktail had great flavor and aromatics."
Check out the final recipes below:
Tyler Nelson's 2011 Winning Cocktail
2 oz. reposado tequila
Barspoon orange flower water
Barspoon agave nectar
3 drops mole bitters
Stir over ice
Arianne Fielder's 2011 Runner-up Cocktail
2 oz. Zaya Rum
1/4 oz. Fernet Branca
3 dashes Bitter End Moroccan Bitters
1 oz. fresh apple juice
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1 tsp. pumpkin butter
Stirred, double strained then smoked with whiskey barrel oak chips.
Garnished with apple slice
KILL IT!! Love you guys!
Sad to hear about Ben's Brown Bag. Hate to say it but it seems like…
Thanks. I guess there are some caul fat haters on this board. I like the…
not only is this a well written article, it makes me want to go out…
Breakfast with Santa, something great for the kids.
@TheGorgeousJR: "[It is] very inexpensive; we sell it at the shop. You can get it…