By Tsz on October 6, 2011
On October 9, Table20 is hosting the 2nd Annual LA’s Best Bartender Contest at Elevate Lounge.
While overlooking downtown, witness the Olympics of mixology as 5 of the creme de la creme bartenders in LA compete for the title of LA’s Best Bartender—backed by the United States Bartenders’ Guild and sponsored by Karlsson’s Vodka.
The finalists are:
• Joe Brooke, Next Door Lounge (People’s Choice)
• Justin Pike, Tasting Kitchen (Judge’s Selection)
• Brian Summer, Harvard & Stone (Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner)
• Devon Tarby, The Varnish (Judge’s Selection)
• Daniel Zacharczuk, Bar | Kitchen (Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner)
This is legit. To give you a taste of the caliber of the cocktails, here is a little preview of the Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge judging session:
The judges, Matt Biancaniello (Library Bar, 2010 winner), David Kaplan (Death & Co.) and Marcos Tello (Varnish, President of the USBG LA Chapter) congregated in Pasadena’s 1880 bar on a quiet Monday night. Being a stowaway, I got to sneak tastes and eavesdrop in on their discussion.
First, Marcos did a blind recreation of each of the recipes submitted. Then judges held a round table to discuss and evaluate the entries. Although they didn’t have a set list of guidelines, they rated on the complexity of the cocktails, drinkability and how “finish” is the recipe before it can be served to the public. As David puts it, he chooses drinks based on if he would be willing to serve it in his own bar.
It was a sight to behold as the judges were able to pick out the individual ingredients and critique on the ratio of them in tandem to the overall drink.
Because I couldn’t come close to their ability, I based my tasting on enjoyability. Here were some of the most notable of the night for me (top to bottom):
Nectar of the Damned (Karlsson’s Gold, OJ, jalapeno, smoked salt and heirloom tomato)
Tasted like a top-notch tomato-cilantro consomme—think Bloody Mary distilled through a Brita filter.
Big Red (Strawberries, Karlsson’s Gold, lemon juice, Averna, Velvet Falernum)
The only way I can describe this being a bystander near a collision of a giant monster strawberry and a big rig—the moment where they collide and the innards of said strawberry hits your face.
Batida de Patata (Karlsson’s Gold, passion fruit, condensed milk, lime, Angostura bitters and mint)
Like a liquid version of Yogurtland’s passionfruit froyo.
Guns and Moses (lime juice, Maraschino, Cherry Manischewitz, Karlsson’s Gold, rose water and rose)
The most sophisticated girly drink I’ve ever had the benefit of tasting. Think cherries meet roses. It’s the only drink that night that I felt underdressed for.
And to think those weren’t even in the final selection—you can only imagine how the finalists concoctions are.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the event’s page. For $25 dollars, you’ll get 7 drink tickets, finger foods by Dave’s Catering, witness the competition and participate by voting for your favorite drink.
Psst, use the discount code “kevineatsndrinks” or “estarlatix” to save $5! Or, try your luck at by entering E*starLA’s drawing.