Yesterday, on a fine November day in Brooklyn— as the temperature soared to nearly 70 degrees and our sun-deprived flesh once again met it’s warm rays— twelve competitors stepped behind the bar of the Clover Club to do battle.
Brandishing their Sherry-filled libation armaments, they let loose for a panel of esteemed judges and a crowd of industry spirit-hounds in a frenzy of jiggering, shaking and stirring. Culled from dozens of submissions from around the country, these twelve talented mixologists were selected to vie for the title of Winner of the 2011 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition and an all-expense paid trip to Jerez—not to mention, bragging rights for life and a fleet of trucks filled with Spanish olives.
Each bartender was required to present their cocktail to the judging panel then return to the backstage area where they would batch it out for the crowd of onlookers. The panel of esteemed judges was composed of the following:
- Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail/Author
- David Wondrich, Author/Historian
- Julie Reiner, Proprietor, Flatiron Lounge, Lani Kai, Clover Club
- Jacques Bezuidenhout, Winner, 2005 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition
- Andy Seymour, Sherry Ambassador, aka wine geek
- Steven Olson, aka wine geek
These were the valiant warriors who traveled from near and far to present their concoction to the panel…and the world:
- Reza Esmaili, Ananas Consulting, San Francisco, CA – “España en Emerica,” Pedro Ximénez
- Brad Farran, Clover Club, Brooklyn, NY – “Midnight to Six,” Palo Cortado
- Mike Henderson, Colt & Gray, Denver, CO – “The Spaniard,” Fino
- Brendan Dorr, B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore, MD – “The Cádizian,” Oloroso Dulce
- Dean Hurst, Sidebern’s, Tampa, FL – “Lux Cider,” Dry Amontillado
- Ted Kilgore, Taste by Niche, St. Louis, MO – “El Maestro,” Oloroso
- Franky Marshall, Clover Club, Brooklyn, NY – “Mas Que Ayer (More Than Yesterday,)” Dry Amontillado
- Lucas Paya, ThinkFoodGroup (The Bazaar, LA) – “Spanish Golden Ale,” Amontillado
- Stephanie Schneider, Huckleberry Bar, Brooklyn, NY – “Perfect Lepanto,” Moscatel
- Kelley Slagle, Terroir Tribeca, New York, NY – “Cherry Cocktail,” Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso & Pedro Ximénez
- Carlo Splendorini, Michael Mina Restaurants, San Francisco, CA – “Ponente,” Oloroso
- Owen Thomson, ThinkFoodGroup (Café Atlantico, DC) – “Highland Games,” Pedro Ximénez
And the gladiator left standing to take home the prize? Brendan Dorr of B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore, MD.
Congrats, fine sir, and may the gates of Jerez open for you with the gusto shown only to that of visiting royalty.