Ben Scorah, GQ’s New York Bartender of the Year, Places in Vegas Finals

Ben Scorah at Beekman Bar & Books

Ben Scorah at Beekman Bar & Books

We’re a bit spoiled here in NYC–we have many of the best bartenders in the country serving many of the best cocktails in the country. So although New York really has nothing to prove, it’s always nice to see one of our own go head to head with the top slingers in the land.

Earlier this week, Ben Scorah, mixologist and managing partner of Bar & Books, was sent to The Palms at Las Vegas to compete in the “Most Inspired Bartender” competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire Gin and GQ. Ben took the New York title at STK two weeks prior, where his “Vienna Cocktail” beat more than a dozen competitors. He will appear in GQ‘s November issue, along with 40 others from across the U.S. who were selected to go to Vegas. There, Ben made it to the top 10 final found, meaning that he will also appear in GQ‘s December issue. However, the top prize went to Christian Sanders of The Living Room at the W Hotel in Miami. Christian’s “Green Sour Hour,” containing celery juice, dill paste, and Himalayan black salt won over the judges:  Bacardi’s Giles Woodyer; Bombay Sapphire’s Global Mixologist, Merlin Griffiths; Style Correspondent Brett Fahlgren, for GQ magazine; and world-renowned mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim.

Nonetheless, I tried Ben’s “Vienna Cocktail” at Beekman last week, and I found it a “most inspiring” take on the Negroni, so cheers to him for taking it all the way to Vegas. Here’s the recipe:

1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1/2 oz. blood orange juice
3/4 oz. Aperol
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Shake and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass with a flamed blood orange zest and a spritz of Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur.

Ben Scorah's Vienna Cocktail

Ben Scorah's Vienna Cocktail

Stirreth, Shaketh, Bring it!


Hear ye, hear ye! All mixologists of experience long and short are being asked to submit recipes for their most palate-tingling concoctions for several competitions happening this month, some with deadlines fast approaching. The question is, do you have the skills to pay the bills?

  • We Shoot Cocktails’ Cocktail & Tweet contest: mixologists, brand ambassadors, and spirit consultants are invited to follow cocktail photographers We Shoot Cocktails on Twitter, tweet about the contest, and submit a recipe. The winning cocktail will be chosen at random to be professionally photographed. Deadline: Aug. 17.
  • Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur is holding its first-ever cocktail throwdown at an undisclosed location in NoHo on Sept. 15. To get there, you must be one of five New York bartender/mixologists whose recipe containing Bärenjäger is invited to compete in the final round. Bärenjäger, a sweet honey liqueur from the 15th century, is made in Germany with honey sourced from the Mexican province of Yucatan. The judges who will decide the final five are author/guru Gary Regan, Allen Katz of Southern Wine & Spirits, Julie Reiner of Clover Club, and spirits writer Jack Robertiello. The grand prize winner will receive an all-expense paid trip for two to Oktoberfest 2009 in Munich, Germany. Recipes can be submitted through Bärenjäger’s website. Deadline: Aug. 25.
  • The Ultimate Cocktail for a Cure competition is inviting both amateur drink-makers and professionals in the bar industry to submit recipes containing SENCE rose nectar and at least one other sponsored ingredient. No more than seven ingredients may be used, including spirits. Judges include U.S. Bartender’s Guild National Ambassador Tony Abou-Ganim, Tobin Ellis of BarMagic Las Vegas, and Steve Olson of Aka Wine Geek and B.A.R. Entries can be submitted through the competition website. The finals are going to be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 26 at Springs Preserve. Deadline: Aug. 31.