The competition was interesting in that not only did bartenders have 60 seconds to grab their ingredients in each round of competition, but after they had everything collected a secret ingredient was revealed to them that they also had to incorporate into the drink.
Round 1: Blended Daiquiri
All eight competitors went into the first round. They competed in pairs, with the secret ingredient changing every pair.
The first two bartenders were Rick Dobbs from The Last Word - Drink Eat Gather in Livermore and Jessi "Mess" Lorraine from Reed & Greenough. Dobbs' Daiquiri, which he named "Hickory Daiquiri Dock," was made with Papa's Pilar Blonde, falernum, grapefruit, lime, and the secret ingredient that was a sweet pepper. Lorraine made a drink with the rum, pear, mango, pepper, lime, cinnamon, and vanilla syrup.
Next up were Zack Safron from Woodbury and Suzie Robinson from Novela, who had to incorporate the secret ingredient of basil into their drinks. Safron, dressed in high-fashion pirate wear, made a drink with both Papa's Pilar rums, lime cordial, lemon verbena, and he garnished it with a "basil rum pesto" layer on top of a ridiculously large cocktail glass festooned with drink umbrellas and monkeys. Robinson made a drink with both the Dark and Blonde rums, figs, pluots, basil, lime, and simple syrup. It tasted like a blended fig Daiquiri. Healthy!
Esdras Gonzalez from Hawthorn and Christian Clark from Tosca Cafe were next, with the secret ingredient of mango. Gonzalez made a drink wiht banana, mango, Papa's Pilar Blonde, vanilla syrup, and lime juice; garnished with powdered cinnamon. Clark's drink was a riff on the Hemingway Daiquiri and included the rum, maraschino liqueur, peach, mango, pineapple, and lemon verbena. He called it the "Quatro Doble."
The final first-round pair were Willis Jackson from Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar and Sean Patrick Kearney from Fish and Farm. They had to include Lychee liqueur in their drinks. Jackson's cocktail contained Papa's Pilar Dark, maraschino liqueur, lychee liqueur, grapefruit, and Don's Mix syrup. Kearny's was made of both rums, vanilla liqueur, lychee liqueur, honey, apricots, and rosemary. It was served in a Dora the Explorer cup and called "Teenage Tropical Fantasy."
Round Two: Hand-Shaken Daiquiri
For this round the bartenders had to make a blender-free Daiquiri variation, also with a secret ingredient. Four bartenders from the initial eight went through to this round.
Zack Safron from Woodbury and Suzie Robinson from Novela were the first two to compete, and their secret ingredient was prickly pear. Robinson made her drink with the prickly pear, white raspberries, grapefruit, lime, vanilla syrup, and Papa's Pilar Blonde rum. Safrom chose the Papa's Pilar Dark rum and added the prickly pear, bitters, orgeat, lime, and pears. He served the drink in a tall Margarita version of a Solo cup and garnished it with a pineapple top onto which he dashed flaming bitters.
Esdras Gonzalez from Hawthorn and Jessi Lorraine from Reed & Greenough were the second pair to compete in the hand-shaken Daiquiri round. Gonzalez made a drink with the Dark rum, bitters, lime, marschino liqueur, simple syrup, and grapefruit peel as a nod toward Hemingway. Lorraine's drink included both the Dark and Blonde rums, strawberries, figs, mint, lime bitters, lime juice, demarara syrup, and mixed spices. She called the drink "Daq That Ass Up."
Round Three: Hand-Shaken Pina Colada
Esdras Gonzalez from Hawthorn and Jessi Lorraine from Reed & Greenough were the final two who made it through to the end - and their secret ingredient with green pepper. Gonzalez made a drink with Papa's Pilar Blonde rum, curacao, hibiscus grenadine, Coco Lopez cream of coconut, vanilla syrup, pineapple juice, and the pepper.
But as we know by now, the winner was Jessi Lorraine. Her drink included the green pepper, both rums, bananas, coconut cream, tiki bitters, lime, pineapple gum syrup, and thyme.
Congratulations to Jessi "Mess" Lorraine from Reed & Greenough, winner of the first Papa's Pilar #PilarCocktailShowdown in San Francisco.