The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2015

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COMPETITIONS S ales representatives put on their mixology hats and pulled out their bar spoons to infuse, stir and create craft cocktails for a panel of judges and crowd sup- porters. The second annual Bar Brawl, presented by Southern Wines & Spirits and Pacific Wines & Spirits, brought an enthusiastic crowd of local supporters to Panxa Cocina in Long Beach, CA to raise money for the Long Beach Animal Shelter. One sales representative from Southern Wine & Spirits, Eric Granit, and one sales representative from Pacific Wines & Spirits, Ralph Perotta, went head-to-head in a live shake-off to showcase their mixology skills and represent their brands. Each contestant had to create cocktail recipes using a brand from Diageo and Pernod Ricard in three rounds: crowd favorite (using an infusion); Pisco Sour twist (created on the spot); and and surprise ingredient (made using two of five surprise ingredi- ents: sage, oregano, kumquats, Grand Poppy Liqueur and Ají pepper jam). Although the brawl was fierce, the atmosphere was fun and lighthearted for the sales reps with rival brands that are now friendly competitors. The panel of judges was made up of tough critics: Head Mixologist of Tantalum Restaurant, Adam Johnson; alongside Panxa's Bar Manager, Damon Brannon; and myself, Southern Wine & Spirits' Marketing Director. Judges considered presentation/appearance, taste and creativity when choosing the winning drinks. "The first year it was a little overwhelm- ing because we didn't know what to expect and were a little bit out of practice, given that we only bartend once a year. This year, we were more prepared and very excited," said Eric Granit after winning the crowd's vote with his El Mas Chingon (prepared with Serrano- and pineapple-infused tequilas). Perotta pre- sented his cocktail with a Boston baked bean floating on a dried apricot. The judge's panel unanimously picked Perotta's Pina Pisco Sour and The Next Sage in the surprise ingredient round, crowning Ralph Perotta and PWS the Bar Brawl II Champion. General Manager Vanessa Auclair was enthusiastic about hosting the event. "We were thrilled to have been a part of the second annual Bar Brawl and are so happy the charity money raised went to such a wonderful cause." Duking It Out El Mas Chingon by Eric Granit ◗ 1 oz. pineapple-infused Don Julio Reposado ◗ 1 oz. Serrano-infused Olmeca Altos Reposado ◗ ¼ oz. turbinado rock simple syrup ◗ ¼ oz. Hiram Walker Orange Curaçao ◗ ¾ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ 1 dash Fee's Brother's orange bitters The Boston Baked Bean By Ralph Perotta ◗ 2 oz. NOLET's Gin ◗ 2 oz. Azteca de Oro Brandy ◗ 1 oz. baked apricot shrub ◗ 1 oz. housemade grenadine ◗ ½ oz. lemon juice ◗ 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Garnish with a dried apricot and a Boston baked bean. by Leanne Chau / photos by Adam James Winner Ralph Perotta of PWS said, "This amazing, fun and beneficial event is a prime example of how SWS and PWS have been attacking business as a team, and I can't imagine how we as a company can succeed in any other way. This event brings our shared accounts together as friends enjoying a wonderful time for charity." Left to right: Art Gonzalez, Chef/Owner, Panxa Cocina; Ralph Perotta, Sales Consultant, PWS; Vanessa Auclair, General Manager, Panxa Cocina; Leanne Chau, Marketing Director, SWS; Tom Fell, Director of On Premise Pernod Ricard, SWS; Adam Johnson, Head Mixologist, Tantalum Restaurant; and Damon Brannon, Bar Manager, Panxa Cocina. SOUTHERN WINES & SPIRITS AND PACIFIC WINES & SPIRITS PRESENT THE SECOND ANNUAL BAR BRAWL 50  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2015

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