On a stormy Saturday last month, three budding bartenders went shaker-to-shaker for the inaugural Bootlegger 21 Vodka Amateur Mixology Showdown. Held at a secret location in SoHo that was later revealed to be the former townhouse of Andy Warhol, the cocktail competition kicked off a Cotton Club-themed night of vintage cocktails, swing music, cigar smoking, poker playing, burlesque and all-around tomfoolery. The event, hosted by Adam Aleksander and Michael Arenella, celebrated the launch of Bootlegger 21 Vodka.
After announcing the contest here and narrowing down the finalists, the live showdown all came down to a people’s choice vote for the winner. It was an extremely close contest–I for one was impressed with the way the finalists managed to present cocktails that were both complex and well-balanced. They also served about 200 guests without missing a beat. In the end, Veronica Criswell (check out her demo video here) edged out Tom Flaschen and Garret Richard to win first prize, netting her four tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala. Each finalist went home with an OXO barware kit.
Watch out for these budding mixologists–they might not be amateurs for long!
First Place: Brooklyn Pearl by Veronica Criswell
1 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka
1 3/4 oz. Velvet Falernum
1/2 tsp rose water
1 egg white
Method: Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with Cointreau.
Tie for Second Place: Martinez Blanc by Tom Flaschen
2 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka
1/2 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 tsp Maraschino liquer
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry
Method: Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with maraschino cherry.
Tie for Second Place: Panacea Cocktail by Garret Richard
1.5 oz Cacao-Infused Bootlegger 21 Vodka*
1 oz Tawny Port (10 yr.)
.25 oz Cherry Heering
.25 oz Benedictine
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
*Rapid Cacao Infusion
Add 500 ml of room temperature Bootlegger 21 Vodka to a whip cream whipper
Add 75g of cacao nibs to your whip cream whipper
Charge with 2 8g chargers of N20 and swirl for 30 seconds
Settle mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds
Vent the excess N20, and let it settle for 1 minute
Strain mixture, and bottle