For anyone who has ever watched Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” enjoyed the experience of Flair bartending or witness any competition, a drink is more than a drink. It is the combination of taste, creativity, socializing and the total experience of enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. The industry’s event for wholesalers and suppliers, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America 73rd Annual Convention & Exposition will be held at Caesars Palace April 18-21.
While the event is not open to the general public, it is a place where trends are discussed, innovative ideas are explored and mixologists demonstrate their skill. This includes Spirits Tasting Competition, Wine Competition, Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Competition, Brand Battle and Call for Cocktails Competition.
The 2015 Winning Cocktail for Call for Cocktails Competition was Barrel Hidden in the Tropics. Created by Chris Chamberlain, portfolio manager and mixologist for Philadelphia Distilling, the cocktail includes gin and Montenegro.
Barrel Hidden in the Tropics
1 ½ ounces Bluecoat barrel finished gin
¼ ounce Amaro Montenegro
¾ ounce honey syrup
¼ ounce lemon juice
1 ¼ ounces smoked pineapple juice
1 bar spoon Greek yogurt
Shake all ingredients and double strain into a glass with crushed ice. The garnish is two pineapple leaves and a pineapple that’s been covered with sugar and bruleed.
In second place, Beach Day was created by Troy Clarke, director of mixology and spirits education for Martignetti Companies and Proximo Spirits.
2 ounces Boodles gin
½ ounce Licor 43
1 ½ ounces coconut water
squirt of lime juice
2 bar spoons of pineapple preserves
Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled double rocks glass that’s been rimmed with coconut palm sugar. Troy also made the umbrella, beach towel and surfboard to match the drink’s beach theme.
Cesar Diaz, mixologist for Crillon Imports, won third place with Helen’s Spring.
1.5 ounces Rhum Barbancourt white
¾ ounces Absentrou herbal wine
1 ounce pineapple juice
¾ honeybee pollen syrup
½ ounces lemon juice
4 dashes orange flower water
Shake all ingredients and strain into a coupe. Garnish with edible flower.
The WSWA Annual Convention & Exposition is organized and hosted by WSWA, a national trade association representing wholesale aspect of the wine and spirits industry. WSWA also advocates for wholesalers in Congress, the executive branch, courts, state legislatures, and news media. Visit www.wswa.org for more information.