Dizzy Recap: Rosangel Throwdown

First-place cocktail by Ben Clemons

"Franky's Puebla" cocktail by Ben Clemons

Earlier this week I attended a cocktail competition put on by Gran Centenario for their latest product, Rosangel, a hibiscus-infused reposado tequila. Held at Kingswood downstairs in the West Village, the throwdown attracted a packed crowd while eight or nine bartenders battled for cash prizes. In between contestants, Kingswood’s house bartenders handed out Rosangel concoctions such as lavender margaritas. Subtly sweet and floral, the Rosangel posed a complex challenge to the competing bartenders, who were allowed to bring their own special ingredients. Each had four minutes to prepare at least two drinks, one to give to the thirsty audience and one to present to the half-dozen judges. It was a more-than-pleasant surprise when Ben Clemons of 33 Libations was awarded first place for his salsa-inspired cocktail featuring Rosangel, muddled watermelon, elderflower and hibiscus tea-infused agave syrup, cilantro, lime juice, and serrano chiles. He inverted a lime wedge to float in the cocktail with an additional shot of Rosangel, a move that seemed to impress the crowd. Second place went to Allan Katz, beverage director of Fatty Crab, who mixed Rosangel with Meyer lemon juice, pomegranate brandy, apricot syrup, a Thai chile-absinthe tincture, and a chile sugar-salt rim. Paolo Votano of On The Rocks NYC came in third with Rosangel and muddled red grapes, ginger and cardamom-infused agavey syrup, cinnamon liqueur, elderflower liqueur, and topped with Veuve Cliquot. The judges had such a hard time deciding that they also awarded a fourth-place prize to Zach Sharaga, owner of Louis 649, who mixed ruby red grapefruit juice, honey syrup, egg white, and sage with Rosangel, garnishing the drink with Peychaud’s bitters and a sage leaf. I really don’t envy the judges at these sort of things since there were so many delicious drinks to choose from. Other competitors included Jason Littrell of The Randolph, Liz Green of Bar Candy, Javier Rey of La Zarza, and Hal Wolin of A Muddled Thought. If I didn’t catch your name, my apologies, I blame it on the tequila.

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Ben Clemons

Zach Sharaga's Rosangel cocktail

Zach Sharaga's Rosangel cocktail

The mixmasters of the evening.

The mixmasters of the evening.

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