Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Booze News: Boston's Schuyler Hunton Named the Northeast's Most Imaginative Bartender

Cheers and Congrats

Contestents of the Most Imaginative Bartender Competition in NY
USBG & Bombay Sapphire's Most Imaginative Bartender Competition Participants - Courtesy Image

A few days ago, we attended the United States Bartenders' Guild's finals for the 10th Annual Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, sponsored by Bombay Sapphire Gin in Manhattan. Held at Pier A, the competition challenged 10 of the top bartenders from New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to create cocktails that made memorable first impressions, not only in flavor, but also presentation.

Cocktails at the Most Imaginative Bartender Competition 2016Cocktail Ingredients

There was a cocktail inspired by one contestant's recently-deceased Kung Fu master, which featured tea as a main ingredient and was presented in a beautiful mini garden. Another bartender created a cocktail to help "reduce the ethanol footprint of the alcohol," with raw honey and bee pollen among its ingredients. Then there was the cocktail that infused manzanilla sherry with seaweed. We think they were all amazing. However, the judges were apparently blown away by Schuyler Hunton's presentation, which was inspired by a classic English breakfast and featured toast and jam with his "Breakfast in Bombay" cocktail taking the place of the egg. Here's the cocktail and its recipe.

Breakfast in Bombay cocktail at Most Imaginative Cocktail Competition
"Breakfast in Bombay" by Schuyler Hunton

Breakfast in Bombay
2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
¾ oz Grapefruit Earl Grey Oleo Saccharum
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Egg White
Tea Pot Bitter Spritz

Hunton will move on to the North American Finals in England, where he'll face off against 9 of the top bartenders across the U.S. and Canada. That batch of candidates will get visit the Layerstoke Mill Distillery— the brand home of Bombay Sapphire Gin, where they'll compete for the 2016 North American title. The grand prize winner will get a trip to Tuscany to learn about the special blend of botanicals that make up Bombay Sapphire's recipe and will also be featured on the cover of GQ Magazine's December issue.

We salute all the entrants and look forward to seeing who wins. Cheers!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Magical Monday: Alexandra G Sandals & Bundaberg Cocktails

Welcome to Summer!

On Your Feet: Ariana Sandals by Alejandra G

Because: It's Summer Solstice, or the first day of Summer and the day we get the most time to play in the sun. There's something positively magical in the air. You might as well channel it in a pair of mesmerizing shoes, like Alejandra G's Ariana Sandal. If your personal charm doesn't put people under your spell, the psychodelic print on this sandal will. The 4.75 inch heel says you're daring, and the sexy (so-summer-16) ankle laces say you know what's hot now. If your office culture isn't fierce-friendly, pull these stunners out for happy hour and beyond... you've got plenty of time to enchant before the Strawberry Moon makes its appearance.

In Your Glass: a Bundaberg Solar Flare

Today's all about solar energy, so why not channel it in the form of a cocktail that's chock-full of citrus. Enter Bundaberg's Solar Flare. Featuring vodka, Bundaberg Blood Orange sparkling fruit drink, lime and grapefruit, it's sweet, effervescent and just tangy enough. You may not be able to get this exact cocktail at happy hour, but you can get something similar- and it'll say you're a bit more complex than someone who simply orders "vodka orange". Also, it nods to your sunny outlook and sweet personality.

Sipping at home? Here's the recipe:

1.7 fl.oz Vodka
Bundaberg Blood Orange
0.7 fl.oz Lime juice
0.5 fl.oz Grapefruit juice
0.5 fl.oz Orange juice

Build in tall glass. Garnish with Orange, grapefruit and lime wedges.

We received complimentary samples of Bundaberg Sparkling Fruit Drink recently, and we're loving the variety of flavors. Made in Australia, they're craft brewed over 2 days, and they locally source most of their ingredients. To learn more or find out how to get your hands on some, click here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Boozy Book Review: Zen and Tonic

On Drinking to Your Health

Did you know that before people drank wine and cocktails as recreational intoxicants, they were using them as medicine? Do you know how to tell whether your produce is organic, conventional or GMO by simply reading the label? These two tips are among many helpful tidbits found in Jules Aron's Zen And Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker. 

Zen and Tonic Cover

I recently came across a few Instagram posts mentioning Zen and Tonic and requested a copy for review. Honestly, I'm glad I did. In addition to beautiful cocktail imagery by Gyorgy Papp and imaginative cocktails made with natural ingredients, Jules AKA the Healthy Bartender packed the pages of her hardcover ode to drinking with great tips and helpful tidbits about everything from fruits and herbs to ice and glasses. For example:

Glasses 101 from Zen and Tonic

Aron also provides recipes for syrups and infusions to use in cocktails, along with a list of health benefits for many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and flowers used in the recipes. Most importantly, though, she stresses the importance of moderation and reminds readers that her recipes shouldn't be used to cure or treat diseases (smart!). 

My favorite aspect of the book, though, is that while its language and content is easily understandable for someone who's not in the liquor and spirits industry, it doesn't pander or condescend. In fact I found it quite enjoyable despite already knowing much of the health-related info (I'm in to living la vida healthy). As we enter summer, with all its soirees and barbecues, it's probably worth getting a copy... you'll be the star of every BYOB event. Trust me. Zen and Tonic is published by the Countryman Press and has a suggested retail of $24.95. You can purchase it in the Shoes N Booze Shop, on Amazon or at various locations. In the meantime, here's the title cocktail.

Zen and Tonic cocktail recipeZen and Tonic cocktail image
*All images were taken from the pages of Zen and Tonic. Though I took pictures of them with my own camera, photography credit for the originals goes to Gyorgy Papp.