The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2014

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98  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2014 by Brian Kustera V odka and tomato juice. To say that's all there is to a Bloody Mary would undoubtedly cause quite the stir in any crowd—brunch- goers and those "hair of the dog" drinkers in particular. Believing there is much more to this complex and nuanced cocktail, Absolut Vodka—a brand almost as well-known as the Bloody Mary itself—and Food Network's cooking competition show Chopped! are challenging bartenders across the U.S. to create the absolute best and most deli- cious Bloody Mary their mixing minds can conjure. Think your Bloody Mary is the best in the state? From July 1st to August 31st bartenders will be able to submit their original recipes, featuring Absolut Vodka, online at where they will be judged based on ingredients, garnishes and presentation. Through a series of local competitions and Facebook votes, each state will crown a winner in September. Last year 47 of the 50 states participated, and this year they're hoping to see them all. More voting will narrow down these state winners to ten finalists, who will be flown to the New York City Wine & Food Festival on October 18th to compete at the Chopped! Best Bloody Mary Brunch, perfected by Absolut. "This is our opportunity to engage and show appreciation for bartenders who are our ultimate brand ambassadors," says Bert Saville, Trade Marketing Manager for Absolut. "We are really excited to see the regional and local differences, and we want to see those personal touches that make each cocktail unique and their own." Chris Patino, Director of Education at Pernod Ricard, adds, "Balance is key: Make sure every ingredi- ent has a purpose and a role to play." From the original classic to the new cilantro & lime flavor, Absolut's line of vodkas has many complex flavor profiles to create the ultimate Bloody Mary, and here at THE TASTING PANEL, we can't wait to see what's in store for our taste buds— we will be following the competition and highlighting winners along the way so stay tuned! BEST BLOODY MARY BRUNCH PERFECTED BY O C T O B E R 1 8 , 2 0 1 4 Throwing Down the Bloody Gauntlet FOOD NETWORK NEW YORK CITY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL AND CHOPPED! ARE LOOKING FOR AMERICA'S BEST BLOODY MARY

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