Rye House was buzzing on Tuesday afternoon as 5 of the country's most outstanding mixologists competed in The Classic & Vintage End Of the Road Show. This contest was the final phase in a series of competitions that have been a part of the company's national Road Show tour where they visited four cities including: Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. On every stop of the road show, Classic & Vintage hosted a cocktail challenge featuring the town's best bar talent. The winner from each city was invited to compete in New York (along with a New York wild card competitor who was chosen on site) during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic for this final round to determine THE CLASSIC & VINTAGE COCKTAIL OF 2010.
Nationally acclaimed industry judges included: Paolo Domeneghetti, CEO and Founder of DSWE, Andrew Knowlton, Restaurant Editor of Bon Appetit, Zane Harris, owner Rob Roy in Seattle and Jim Kearns, of Rye House, New York. After careful deliberation, the judges determined that Los Angeles' Julian Cox of Rivera & R26 (opening this fall) was the winner with his balanced and beautiful cocktail: Beet It. Julian was awarded a trip for two to Cognac, France based on his use of the Cognac-produced spirit, Esprit de June. In France, Julian will have the opportunity to visit the June distillery as well as the Cognac-based distilleries of other brands in the Classic & Vintage portfolio including G'Vine, Cognac Grosperrin, and Armagnac Castarede
The inventive format of the competition added to the on-the-spot excitement of the afternoon - each bartender selected a box of mystery ingredients that ranged from basic to obscure including tomato, mango, passion fruit, garam masala, Kit Kat candy bar, marshmallow, jalapeno, pickle juice, buttered popcorn, etc. Each had to use at least three ingredients from the box with all-access to the entire Classic & Vintage portfolio, which includes over 17 internationally acclaimed boutique spirit brands. With only 12 minutes to formulate, prep and pour, the finalists developed inventive recipes including:
Beet It! - THE CLASSIC & VINTAGE COCKTAIL OF 2010
Julian Cox of Rivera & R26 (opening this fall), Los Angeles
The Road Show Julep
John Lermayer, The Florida Room, Miami
Reza Esmaili, Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco
Movie Theater Classic
Ben Demarchelier, Brasserie Cognac, NYC
The Avocado Wreck
Dante Lopresti, Mercadito, Chicago
Industry vet, Tad Carducci of The Tippling Bros. entertained the crowd with his animated introductions and comical accounting of each competitor's ingredient assortment and was the leader of Tuesday's friendly competition. By taking home the win for Los Angeles, Julian Cox is proud to be a part of Southern California's quickly growing mixology community. The Classic & Vintage Road Show will be an annual event to search for new and exciting bar talent in US cities.
About Classic & Vintage: Assembled in early 2009, Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits is a collection of boutique spirits, founded by Domaine Select Wine Estates (DSWE). The spirits line is an unprecedented collection of gems, all with a unique story and diverse place of origin. Each brand in the portfolio is viewed among the finest in their respective category, and all products can be used as a collection to create incomparable signature cocktails.
Classic & Vintage National Portfolio Includes:
Averna, Death's Door Spirits, G'Vine Gin, Sombra Mezcal, Suprema Grappa, The Bitter Truth, Tuthilltown Spirits, Rhum J.M, Varnelli, Mae de Oro, Dimmi Liquore di Milano, Cognac Grossperin, Armagnac Castarède, Regional Tequila, Azuñia Tequila, Didier Meuzard, June, Excellia