Mixologists compete for Wine + Food stardom 

Battle of the Booze

Most of the city shut down on Monday, leaving only one event for drinkers that night: the Wine + Food Festival Mixology Competition at Social. A surprising number of people braved the ice and cold, making the dining room uncomfortably crowded. Five of the city’s best bartenders whipped up what they think should be the festival’s signature drink, and guests slowly squeezed their way between each table for small samples.

Samantha Ewing of FIG offered a super-potent Blossoming Pear Tree, a blend of vodka, gin, vermouth, Cocchi Americano, and pear brandy. From Ice Box, Boris Van Dyck poured a more refreshing option with the Ginger-Apple Mojito, made from rum, apple juice, and ginger beer with fresh mint. Jasmine Beck of O-Ku served up a syrupy-sweet, pink Lychee Blossom, which used jasmine water and a skewered lychee, plus Van Gogh and other ingredients. Evan Powell of Fish was furiously muddling and stirring a tasty blend of citrus fruits and vodka, and Mayan Malik of Cypress created the Reaper, a mix of vodka, prosecco, grapefruit juice, and lillet.

As guests made the rounds and discussed the merits of each cocktail, Social’s wine studs inched through the crowd with trays of light hors d’oeuvres. “Is that all they’re giving you to help us soak up all this alcohol?” we heard one woman ask a server balancing a tray of seared tuna. Guests voted for their favorite drink by placing a chip in a paper bag on each mixologist’s makeshift bar. Boris’ tasty Ginger-Apple Mojito was named the winner later that evening. We can’t wait to drink too many of them when the Wine + Food Festival hits town in March.


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