The regional contests for Bombay Sapphire's annual "Most Imaginative Bartender" kicked off in New York City August 18th. The competition, which culminates with a September national face-off in Las Vegas--was brought home by Vincenzo Cangemi of Ovest Pizzoteca and Bar.
An enthusiastic crowd of bartenders, media and cocktail fans gathered together at the recently revived Diamond Horseshoe bar in the Paramount Hotel, to watch Bombay Sapphire brand ambassador Gary Hayward and a panel of industry judges sample each of the 10 competitor's timed entries. The event is hosted by the United States Bartender's Guild (USBG).
For the first time, a Consumer Cocktail Hour was part of the evening's events. Guests were given the opportunity to sample and vote for their favorite cocktail. The People's Choice Winner was Joe Donahue from the NoMad bar.
Cangemi's winning cocktail, the Elisir d'Amore, emphasized "aphrodisiac" spices, like ginger, chamomile and coriander among its ingredients (see recipe below). This win will send him to Las Vegas to compete September 8 against 39 other regional winners. In addition to prizes and peer acknowledgement, the winner is featured on a GQ cover as part of GQ's "Man of the Year" December 2014 issue. Last year's winner, Miami's Julio Cabrera, received a similar honor.
"It's an absolute honor to have the opportunity to be nationally recognized in my field," says Cangemi in a press release from Bombay Sapphire. "To be able to compete alongside some of the most talented bartenders across the nation is something very few will have the chance to do."
(by Vincenzo Cangemi)
- 1.75 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
- .5 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
- .75 Reduction of Chamomile flowers and Ginger Beer
- .5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 6 - 7 Yellow Endive Leaves
- 1 Bar Spoon Coriander Seeds
In a cocktail shaker, add lemon juice, coriander seeds and ginger beer reduction. Muddle until the seeds break, then add enive leaves and lightly muddle again. Add gin and blood orange liqueur, ice and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupette glass.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received no other compensation for this article, save for an invitation to attend the 2014 Most Imaginative Bartender NYC competition.