The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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Page 133 of 140

september 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  133 T he National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. houses some of America's greatest historical documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the original draft of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. It is also home, at least for the next several months, to a special exhibition: Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History, an extensive exhibit that uses National Archives documents and artifacts to illustrate the wide variety of views Americans hold about alcohol–today and throughout history. The exhibition inspired a live cocktail competition over the Fourth of July weekend, where seven talented mixologists vied for cash prizes and bragging rights for crafting the most deli- cious patriotic cocktail. All of the evening's proceeds went to support the National Archives Foundation. A sold-out crowd watched as the bartenders mixed, shook, poured and presented their patriotic-themed cocktails to the esteemed panel of judges, which included the Honorable David Fierriero, The Archivist of the United States; Duane Sylvestre, Head Bartender at Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak DC; Matt Allred of Zentan in D.C.; cocktail consultant JP Fetherston of Southern Efficiency & the Columbia Room; and THE TASTING PANEL's Publisher/Editorial Director, Meridith May. Allen Katz, Director of Mixology and Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, and Derek Brown, Chief Spirits Advisor for the National Archives shared emcee duties. Following a spirited introduction by Allen and Derek ("Drinking is a patriotic duty," they quipped), the seven contestants took the stage and were given ten minutes on the clock to create a patriotic cocktail. Final results were then presented to the judges and evalu- ated based on presentation, patriotic theme and, of course, taste. Each bartender incorporated spirits from a specific brand sponsor in each of their cocktails. Witty back-and-forth banter between the emcees, judges and com- petitors colored the upbeat competition. At one point, when making a case for craft cocktails, Derek Brown queried, "How many arguments have been settled in bars?" "Or started?" countered Allen Katz, who went on to wax philosophical: "Finding that ethereal balance between something that is easy to drink, but complex and unique lends itself to creativity. Some of these original cocktails are so memorable, that you take them with you, beyond the experience in the bar." The Spirited Republic cocktail competition's contestants (left to right): Torrence Swain, Nick Maziejka, Will Mullady, Tealye Long, Ben Wiley, Brandon Coles and Ginny Lawson. Judges Duane Sylvestre, Head Bartender at Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak D.C.; Meridith May, Publisher/Editorial Director at THE TASTING PANEL; The Honorable David Fierriero, The Archivist of the United States; Matt Allred, Bar Manager of Zentan at D.C.'s Kimpton Hotel; JP Fetherston of Southern Efficiency and The Columbia Room.

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