San Francisco, CA, October 25, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Cheered on by a sold-out crowd at the San Francisco Ferry Building and overseen by emcee Duggan McDonnell (owner of San Francisco culinary cocktail mecca Cantina), one amateur mixologist and one professional bartender battled to create the perfect organic cocktail with featured spirit Square One Organic Vodka at CHOW's Square Off cocktail competition on September 25, 2007.
Among hundreds of entries, the judges chose one professional bartender, San Franciscan Ronaldo Colli (Bar Americano), and one amateur, Abigail Gullo from New York City. Gullo's charm won over the spectators, but Colli's experience impressed the judges, and he ultimately swept the awards.
For the first contest, Colli and Gullo created a cocktail combining ingredients from that day's farmers' market with featured spirit Square One Organic Vodka. Gullo fashioned a Duet of Pears-tini featuring pureed and prickly pears in a caramelized-sugar-rimmed martini glass. Colli poured his Hugging Thyme, a blend of chamomile tea, thyme, lemon juice, and Licor 43, garnished with a curl of lemon zest wrapped around a thyme sprig. The judges - Jeff Hollinger (General Manager at San Francisco's Absinthe and acclaimed author of The Art of the Bar), Jane Goldman (Editor in Chief of CHOW), Natalie Bovis-Nelsen (The Liquid Muse blogger), and Shannon Cummings (consumer judge) - voted 3-1 for Colli.
The contestants were then challenged to create another cocktail using a surprise, seasonal ingredient from the produce at the farmers' market: lemon basil. Gullo's Concord Fizz combined the spicy tang of lemon basil with Concord grapes and maraschino liquor. But it was Colli's Espanola Sour - a citrusy riff on the traditional sour using orange marmalade and lemon juice - that won over the judges.
With two out of two triumphs, Ronaldo Colli was declared the winner of the Square Off.
There remained one more contest: the People's Choice Award. Spectators voted on the recipes that took Ronaldo and Abigail to the finals: Colli's Rose Mary and Gullo's Flying Fig. Before she revealed the verdict, Square One founder Allison Evanow announced the launch in 2008 of the new Square One Organic Cucumber, Square One's first flavored vodka. Then came the results of the poll of spectators. Colli won again, sweeping the first Cocktail Square Off.
Square One was proud to work alongside like-minded companies such as Imbibe and Ideal Bite to support CHOW's Square Off Cocktail Competition, which benefited local organizations CUESA and Om Organics. Products for the Square Off were generously donated by Method, Sambazon Acai, Green Zebra, SmartsCo, Q Tonic, and Numi Tea.
About Square One Organic Vodka
Square One Organic Vodka was borne of the philosophy that going green shouldn't mean going without. Fittingly, the vodka starts at square one with the purest of ingredients: 100% organic North Dakota-grown rye and pristine water from the Teton Mountains. Next, Square One applies a proprietary certified organic fermentation process that meets with the stringent requirements of Oregon Tilth [www.tilth.org] and the vodka is packaged with an eye toward both eco-and fashion-consciousness. The result is the first certified organic vodka to be made from 100% certified organic American rye - proving that a premium spirit can indeed embrace the ethos of "eco chic." Yet Square One's unique approach to business and the environment continues beyond the glass: company travel receives carbon offsets from the Carbon Fund and Terra Pass, and Square One is committed to seeking out ever more sustainable sources for packaging and shipping as and when they become available. Moreover, Square One Organic Spirits LLC is a progressive female-owned and operated company that encourages a life-work balance. Established in 2006, Square One Organic Spirits is a start up company and when profitable it will donate a portion of proceeds to non-political environmental causes. As a company, Square One is constantly forging ties with other innovative companies and individuals who have that certain cocktail of panache and earth friendliness. Square One Organic Vodka is now available in more than 25 states, the UK and Canada.