The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 79 of 148

COMPETITIONS P osh auction events have become a fundraising tradition in wine country, but Sonoma has its own ideas about charity happenings. The Sonoma Bar Battle, pitting local bartender teams in a fierce but fun cocktail competition, raises money for veterans and volunteer organizations. In its tenth year, the Iron Chef– style battle ensued at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, where T-Luke and the Tight Suits jammed a toe-tapping soundtrack before you even entered the building. Fan Favorite awards for Best Team Booth, appetizer and cocktail, are a lively component of the fundraiser, which included a few horned devils, some toga-clad Romans and a couple of banner-waving anti-Prohibitionists among the comic cast of characters hustling votes for their teams. When the votes were counted however, "Pamela Anderson" and her Baywatch lifeguards won the 2016 Fan Faves award. In the Battle of the Bartenders, teams compete in heats on an elevated center stage. A "secret ingredient" is revealed at the very last second and must be utilized in an original cocktail; the heat winners then advance to the final, ten-minute round. The library included an array of high-end spirits from title sponsor Beam Suntory portfolio, including Maker's 46, Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Suntory Whisky Toki, Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Courvoisier VSOP. "We look for creativity and the best combination of spirit and secret ingredient," explained Megan Breier, West Coast Bourbon Ambassador, Beam Suntory, and one of the three judges from the spirits sponsor. No easy feat, given the intimidating number of spirits choices arrayed before the bartenders. "Sonoma Bar Battle was very excited to have Beam Suntory on board as our title spirits sponsor and provider," says Ronda Leen, who helped organized the event. "The bartenders who competed this year were very impressed with the quality of the spirits used in the competition." This year, teammates and Sonoma bartenders Lisa Blue and Kevin Virgo clinched the victory with their inspired use of egg in a strawberry syrup meringue. Basil Hayden's® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40% Alc./Vol. ©2017 Kentucky Springs Distilling Co., Clermont, KY. Jim Beam® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40% Alc./Vol. ©2017 James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY Knob Creek® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 50% Alc./Vol. ©2017 Knob Creek Distillery, Clermont, KY. Laphroaig® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 43%, 48% and 55.7% alc./vol. ©2017 Laphroaig Import Company, Deerfield, IL Courvoisier® Cognac and Liqueur, 18-40% alc./vol. Courvoisier Import Company, Deerfield, IL USA. Courvoisier is a trademark of Courvoisier S.A.S. ©2017 Courvoisier S.A.S. Canadian Club® Blended Canadian Whisky, 40% alc./vol. ©2017 Canadian Club Import Company, Chicago, IL Suntory Whisky Toki™ Japanese Whisky, 43% Alc./Vol. ©2017 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL. Auchentoshan® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 40% Alc./Vol. ©2017 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL. january/february 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  79 PHOTO: ERIK CASTRO Friendly Fire BEAM SUNTORY PACKS THE HOUSE AT THE TENTH ANNUAL SONOMA BAR BATTLE by Diane Denham Competition judges for the Sonoma Bar Battle at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall included Beam Suntory Ambassadors: Megan Breier, West Coast Bourbon Ambassador; Zahra Bates, Courvoisier Brand Ambassador (not pictured); and James Hyde, West Coast Tequila Ambassador. 2016 Fan Faves award-winners included (back row) Dax Marchus, Trevor Dwelly, Elise Nerlove, Keenan Young, Helen Magee and Nathaly Gordils; (front row) Kristen Geoffrey and PJ Clark. PHOTO: DEBORAH DE MARTINI PHOTO: DEBORAH DE MARTINI

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - January / February 2017