Last week I helped judge the Disaronno Mixing Star USA finals in New York. The winner, David Perez from 27 Restaurant and Bar in Miami, will be sent to Tales of the Cocktail, where he will join other international Mixing Stars in... enjoying the event.
Unlike most cocktail competitions, they will not announce a global winner but treat all the national winners to the educational and cultural experience that is Tales.
The winning cocktail was:
You can tell that Perez built the drink around Disaronno's bitter almond flavor with the nutty notes coming from orgeat, apricot, and sherry; and the peach and vanilla pairing with the other flavors in the bottle.
This was an interesting cocktail competition to judge. As is usual, the majority of points in the scoring are awarded to the drink's flavor with other smaller point categories for how much the brand shows in the drink, technical proficiency of the bartender, how well they address the brand in the chat, and creativity.
But in this contest we found a small variation between our favorite and least favorite tasting drink (nothing was bad at all), and a wider variation in the smaller performance points. Usually I feel like I know who the top 2-3 competitors will be long before I add up my scores, but in this competition I had no idea.
In the end, David Perez earned the most points to win the day.
The other regional champions were:
- Egor Polonskiy: Untitled, Chicago
- Christian Armando Guillen,The Standard Pour, Dallas
- Brady Weise, Der Wolfskopf, Los Angeles
- David Bonatesta, Ward III, New York City
- Leroy Thomas, Rocco’s, Seattle