Last night, some 500 cocktail lovers, bartenders, and industry pros gathered at the Edge Bar at the Four Seasons for the popular Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition. The festivities featured a Consumer Cocktail Hour and allowed guests to sample and vote their favorite innovative cocktail from the participating bartenders. Their final votes will then determine the Denver People's Choice award.
The bartenders who entered the fray are Austin Carson (Mizuna), Michael Cerretani (Blackbelly), Mclain Hedges (RiNo Yacht Club), Chris Clewell (Acorn), Les Baker (formerly of Session's Kitchen), and Nate Maston (Oak at Fourteenth).
A four-person professional judge panel composed of Alex Flower (Acorn), Mike Henderson (RootDown/Linger/Ophelia's), Chad Michael George (the Way Back) and Nick Kosevic (Bombay Sapphire) decided on the official winner of the Denver competition.
Without further ado, People's Choice went to Mclain Hedges (RiNo Yacht Club), while the judges' winner was Nate Maston (Oak at Fourteenth).
The drink that gathered the public's support, created by Hedges, was called T.K.O. (an Ode to Thomas Keller, also a "Technical Knockout"). The bartender mixed Bombay Sapphire with cilantro infused Sauvignon Blanc, jasmine rice and lemongrass whey, clarified lemon juice, caramelized pineapple-vanilla syrup, and clarified orgeat. It came served in a Zalto wine glass with a garnish in spoon on the side. The garnish was all byproduct from the ingredients in cocktail (caramelized pineapple, whipped lemongrass ricotta, rice powder, toasted almond, micro cilantro).
The official winning cocktail, created by Nate Maston, was named the Mist of Vyrnwy. It combined Bombay Sapphire Gin with Yellow Chartreuse, oleo saccharum, clarified lemon juice, Rekorderlig passion fruit cider and 3 drops of a house made sapphire bitter. (1 butterfly pea flower tincture: .5 lemon tincture: .5 orange tincture: .3 coriander: .5 juniper). The drink came garnished with a pear flag and edible flowers plus a dusting of crushed butterfly pea flowers, sugar, juniper berries, and lemon peel.
Maston will take this drink to Las Vegas where he will represent Denver at the North American Finals next month.