I helped judge the San Francisco regional cocktail competition for 42Below. The two winners of this contest will compete in the national competition, then three winners from the US will make up the team that will compete in New Zealand in March.
The first winner was Michael Callahan of Azul.
His drink, the Fugutini, was made with 42Below Manuka Honey vodka, ume-shu plum wine, Mathilde Poire, and lemon juice. It was fantastic with a long, dry finish. The garnish, which was was a bit...excessive, was dehydrated and shaved pickeld ginger with black Hawaiian sea salt and fugu poison on the rim, plus wakami seaweed, baby's breath, and a piece of sushi in the glass.
The second winner was Dominic Venegas of 83 Proof, John Walker & Sons, and until last week Smuggler's Cove.
His drink was the Mi Ruca, made with 42Below Manuka Honey, Benedictine, orgeat, pineapple juice, and meyer lemon, with a garnish of cinnamon. It was just a lovely combination of harmonious flavors.
Good luck in New York, fellas!
Some fun pictures from the photobooth at the event are here.