Congratulations to San Francisco's Victoria D'amato-Moran, who won first place- and $5000- in the Mix it Up cocktail competition at the Las Vegas Bar & Nightclub show on Tuesday.
Victoria tells me there were 23 contestants in the first round, in which she made a drink with rye, Navan vanilla liqueur, unfiltered apple juice, pumpkin puree, and a lemon/mandarin/spice syrup.
After that the five contestants who made the final round competed with a secret ingredient, passion fruit, with which Victoria says she makes drinks all the time. She put together passion fruit vodka, Aperol, X-Rated Fusion (orange/mango/passion fruit-flavored) liqueur, ruby grapefruit and lemon juice, and nutmeg.
Then she forgot to bring her jigger onstage and had to free-pour. Oops. Still, she took home the top prize of the day. Victoria consistently does well in competitions (especially when she can prepare garnish art ahead of time) and wins plenty of them, but this one was a biggie, hosted in front of a huge crowd.
A veteran of several bars in her family's historic North Beach neighborhood, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, and Michael Chiarello's Napa restaurant, Victoria is currently working at the Fairway Club & Cocktail Bar in the South Bay where she lives, though she tells me she may be returning to North Beach to bartend again soon.
Way to go V!