Table 20’s Second Annual LA’s Best Bartender Contest Finalists Announced
Contest alert- scroll to the bottom for a chance to win a pair of tickets to this upcoming event. I have 3 pair to give away!
On Friday, Table 20 announced all five finalists for their Second Annual LA’s Best Bartender contest sponsored by Karlsson’s Gold Vodka. Joseph Brooke of Next Door Lounge took the People’s Choice spot after voting ending. The remaining top 25 bartenders were invited to submit a recipe for the next round. Seventeen submitted –some bartenders had contractual commitments to their liquor brands or would not be able to make the finals competition on Sunday, October 9 at Elevate Lounge.
Last Monday, Judge Marcos Tello, Judge and last year’s winner Matt Biancaniello, Dave Kaplan (of New York’s Death & Co) along with the Karlsson’s Gold Vodka brand rep had the serious task to pick two more finalists. Marcos made all 17 cocktails himself for sake of consistency. From there, five were chosen (these would be made by Death & Co bartender Alex Day– who along with Dave have been consulting at bars all around LA including Bar | Kitchen). Then we really got down to brass tacks and I’m happy to say Daniel Zacharczuk of Bar | Kitchen and Brian Summers of Harvard & Stone took the two of the finalists spots. The judges team announced their selections for the final two spots- Devon Tarby of Varnish and Justin Pike of Tasting Kitchen.
I should have known the Blues in Orbit cocktail (Karlsson’s Gold vodka, plum, lemon, St. Vincent’s orgeat, fresh cracked pepper) was Brian Summers’ submission when I tasted it. He made a very similar cocktail but with rum during one of his R&D nights at Harvard & Stone. The plum and orgeat may as well be his signature.
Daniel’s Faster Young Fruit (Karlsson’s Gold vodka, Dolin Blanc vermouth, lemon, simple syrup) was an amazingly simple but dignified cocktail, much like him. I was at BK one night when he was thinking about his recipe. He had smelled the Karlsson’s first from the bottle, had a little taste then went around the bar sniffing deeply, awaiting inspiration.
At the competition, we will also be tasting Joe Brooke’s Spicy Strander (Karlsson’s Gold vodka, lemon, passionfruit syrup, chipotle simple syrup, celery salt rim), Devon’s Waltz #2 (Karlsson’s Gold vodka, Amaro Montenegro, Massenez Poire-Williams Eau de Vie, cinnamon bark syrup, lemon) and Justin’s Su Novia (Karlsson’s Gold vodka, lime, St. Germaine, ginger juice, club soda, cucumber garnish).
Read about last year’s party here.
See all the photos from the Karlsson’s Gold Vodka challenge here.
This year, there’ll be a pop-up shop from Bar Keeper as well as sampling from nominated bartender Damian Windsor’s Ice Ice Shavie. Imbibe Magazine’s Dan Dunn will serve as MC. Appetizers and drink tickets will be provided but discounted food will also be available for purchase.
spiced peach cobbler w/peach vodka is great this time of year
favorite vodka drink is a dirty martini w/stuffed blue cheese olives.
The Christopher Oaxacan from A Frame! I love Mezcal and it’s my favorite Mezcal cocktail to date. No one else makes it like A Frame.
When it comes to vodka, vodka soda with lime is always my favorite. Boring, but it’s classic. 🙂 Yxta has an amazing Hendricks cucumber gin and basil martini that comes in second!
Favorite cocktail: traditional hand mixed margarita (straight up, no salt, no sour mix) with a twist of patron citronge (or cointreau). Yum!
Julian Cox’s “Donaji” @ Rivera.
I had heard of Mezcal before…but sadly, I had never tried it. Shame on me. I mean, I’m Mexican! Granted, I am not from Oaxaca but still, this is something I should have tried. Better late than never I suppose.
Well, I made it a point to go to Rivera for the sole reason of trying it. My first Mezcal cocktail was “The Donaji” and I was blown away. The ingredients that make up the actual cocktail are as simple as lime, lemon and orange juice. Add in a good Mezcal (anything from Del Maguey, as far as I’m concerned), garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, lime wheels, lemon leaf and rim the glass with chapulin salt and you’ve got yourself a winning drink.
So good is this cocktail that, while the cocktail menu changes every season at Rivera, this one and a handful of others are mainstays.
I was so impressed with this drink, and Mezcal for that matter, that I was beyond ecstatic when I came across the recipes [online] for 3 of the lynchpin cocktails at Rivera – “The Donaji,” “The Barbacoa” and “Blood Sugar Sex Magic.” Any of these could qualify as my favorite cocktail, but “The Donaji” turned me on to Mezcal so I give the nod to it.
Oh, if anyone is interested, the link for the aforementioned cocktails is;
i created my own favourite martini and i love it:
2 oz level vodka
1 1/2 oz hypnotic
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz juicelimoncello
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass
correction”limoncello”not juicelimoncello lol i am sorry
My favorite drink that I have at home is just a John Daly with some Marker’s mark, homemade sweet tea and fresh lemonade. The best drink I’ve had out at a bar would be the Edison at, well, the Edison
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