A tremendously rainy Monday night and even though the chaos remains alive in the streets of New York on March 30, I had an exclusive last-minute invitation to attend the 2nd annual “Are you Indispensable,” bartending finalists competition presented by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur.
The venue was the perfect place to kick back and forget about the minutiae from the day.
Six top bartenders stopped by to strut their skills behind the bar representing New York, Brooklyn, Boston, Boston, Nashville, and Austin.
Everyone showcased their super tasty cocktail innovations that incorporated Rye, Bourbon, Sherry, Mezcal, Scotch, Tequila, Rum and Cognac and had to include the host of the party: PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur.
Oh, and in case your taste buds craved a little more of a landing pad for all that liquid jazz, Chef Will Horowitz drowned the hunger with a delicious hearty bar fare.
The Officials aka Judges:
-Paul Pacult – Noted spirits critic and publisher/editor of The Spirit Journal
-Steve Olson – Founder of aka wine geek and renowned spirits, wine and cocktail expert
-Julie Reiner – Doyenne of cocktails and owner of Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club
-Kate Shapira Latts – Vice President of Marketing and a member of the third generation of the family behind Heaven Hill Brands, the parent company of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur.
Though, the competition attracted recipes from bartenders in 37 cities across the U.S – there can only be one winner – and, in this case, regardless of the runner-ups, congratulations to everyone.
Drum roll –, please. Here are your winners:
The $5,000 Grand Prize winner is Lacy Hawkins (Clover Club, Brooklyn) for her tequila cocktail.
Recipe: Persephone’s Downfall
1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 ½ oz Lunazul Blanco Tequila
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz 2:1 Demerara syrup
2 dashes Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Fine strain into a coupe glass and top with Fino sherry foam. To make the foam, combine 2 egg whites, 6 oz Fino sherry, ¾ oz honey syrup and a pinch of salt to an iSi canister. Charge twice with NO2 cartridges.
Second ($2,000): David Bonatesta (Ward III, New York). Bourbon concoction.
Recipe: Coastal Breeze
¾ oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 ½ oz Larceny Bourbon
¾ oz Cocchi Rosa
½ oz Gran Classico Bitters
Add ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice, stir and strain into a cordial glass. Garnish with oils expressed from a lemon peel.
Third ($1,000): Brett Esler (Whisler’s, Austin, Texas) for using Cognac.
Recipe: Wintertime Remedy
1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 ½ oz Louis Royer “Force 53” VSOP Cognac
¾ oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1 whole organic egg
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Give a 20-second hard dry shake, add ice, and shake for another 8-10 seconds. Fine strain the cocktail with a mesh strainer into a cordial glass and add 1 red rose petal as a garnish.
Absolutely awesome event! For more information on PAMA Pomegranate, click here. See you at the next competition.