Yesterday evening, over 600 guests filled the pool terrace at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver in honor of Bombay Sapphire's Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, the Denver edition. Top local bartenders competed for a chance to represent the Mile High City in this year's the national finals. That national title, won by Bryan Dayton in 2011, is the reason why the co-owner at Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn, landed on the cover of GQ Magazine.
Here's what happened last night: The guests, lots of them dressed to impress, had the opportunity to sample and vote for some of the most innovative cocktails in Denver. It's fair to say that the who's who of Denver's booze world was present for the event. A judging panel that included Chad Michael George and Allison Widdecombe of Williams & Graham, Mike Henderson of Linger and Root Down, Jennifer Contraveos of Bacardi, and William Davis, a sommelier, was locked in a room tasting, scoring, and deciding on a winner.
That winner is Tacy Rowland of BOL Restaurant and Bar in Vail. Her unique drink, called The Gemaicha Cocktail, is a combination of Bombay Sapphire, St. Germain, Sencha green tea," brewed with star anise"," white pepper"," and caraway, simple syrup steeped with toasted basmati rice and Thai basil, lemon juice, and two dashes of rice vinegar.
The runner up was Glenn Pollak of OAK at Fourteenth. In third place came Ken Kodys of the Breckenridge Brewery Group and the people's choice went to Benjamin Carrington of La Biblioteca.
Rowland will head to Las Vegas to compete against bartenders from across the country for the national title.