Me with Bobby Heugel, winner of the inaugural Tipsy Texan Drink Local Cocktail Contest. Bobby is the taller one. With the sh*teating grin on his face.
The Drink Local event and Tipsy Texan Cocktail Contest last night was a blast, another successful piece of Eat Local Week. There were an estimated 200 people in attendance. Paula Angerstein of Paula's Texas Spirits led the charge in the tasting room with fellow Texas producers Tito's Vodka (Tito himself was holding court most of the night), Treaty Oak Rum and proprietor Daniel Barnes, Savvy Vodka (whose owner must have had another engagement, or not realized the significance of the night's event), and the gentlemen who are making the Texas whiskey that is waiting in casks right now for a release in 2011.
Judging the contest, from l-r:
Austin locavore chef Jesse Griffiths, of Dai Due Supper Club (who was, incidentally, featured in today's Austin American-Statesman)
Cocktail writer and spirits maven Moxy Castro
L Style/G Style magazine editor Chantal Outon
"Tipsy" of TipsyTexan.com, Joe Eifler
Food & Beverage Director of the Driskill Hotel, Tom Beaty
I was the host for the evening. Does that red tie make me look too much like a Republican politician?
Contestants, in the order they competed:
Will Earls, Gypsy (Austin)
Billy Hanky, the Good Knight (Austin)
Ben Craven, Starlite (Austin)
Bill Norris, FINO (Austin)
Bobby Heugel, the Anvil (Houston)
Will Earls kicked off the night with his Temecula Tea cocktail, featuring three different types of citrus juice captured in frozen juice "popsicles". The cocktail was topped with a passion fruit espuma (a flavored foam that floats atop the finished drink) which gave it a nice creamy finish. There was a lot going on in this cocktail, and Will did a fabulous job describing his techniques, garnishes, and personal philosophy.
By Will Earls
1 1/4 ounce Tito's Vodka
3/4 ounce Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila
3 ounces organic Mexican infused iced tea
Satsuma orange, blood orange, grapefruit and Paula's Texas Orange infused (3 Ice cubes, or 1 ounce infused simple syrup)
Topped with a passion fruit espuma
Garnished with grapefruit, blood orange, and Satsuma orange supremes
The second contestant, Billy Hanky of the Good Knight, served up the restaurant's eponymous cocktail, which you can taste (k)nightly at the little restaurant on East 6th. This was Billy's first time to compete in a cocktail competition and he put forth a great effort.
The Good Knight, by Billy Hanky of the Good Knight restaurant/bar
The Good Knight
By Billy Hanky
1 1/4 oz rye whiskey.
3/4 oz Paula's Texas Lemon
1/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine in a shaker, shake, and pour into a glass washed with sweet vermouth. I use Martini & Rossi. Garnish with lime wedge.
Ben Craven was up next with his Rio Star cocktail, which he crafts from grapefruit-infused Tito's vodka, and a homemade honey liqueur, with lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and Sweet Leaf Tea. Ben's garnish was a show-stopping candied grapefruit peel. Delicious to taste and stunning to behold.
Ben Craven shaking his Rio Star cocktail
By Ben Craven
1 ½ oz Tito’s infused with Big Star Texas grapefruit
1 oz local honey liqueur
Splash lemon juice
Sweet Leaf tea
Shake first three ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with Sweet Leaf tea. Garnish with candied grapefruit peel.
Ben's cocktail, with its candied grapefruit peel, is almost as photogenic as he is
Following Ben was Bill Norris, the barman at Austin's FINO restaurant. Bill's Tea Time in the Valley cocktail was complex and balanced, featuring Treaty Oak Rum and sour orange juice (from a "secret location in East Austin"), with a homemade honey darjeeling syrup. The cocktail was beautifully garnished with a ruby red grapefruit supreme that appeared to be speared onto a piece of lemongrass.
Tea Time in The Valley
By Bill Norris
1.5oz Treaty Oak Rum
.5 oz Paula's Texas Orange
.5 oz Dubonet Rouge
.25oz Honey-Darjeeling Syrup
.5 oz Texas Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Sour Orange Juice
Garnish with flamed grapefruit peel and grapefruit supreme.
Bobby shaking it like he means it
The last contestant of the evening was Bobby Heugel, who came out fired up like he was preaching the gospel (which in a way, I suppose, he was). Speaking a mile a minute and rattling off an improvised manifesto of local cocktail mixology, he shook up a fabulous fizz that featured Railean XO rum which is made in San Leon, TX, and is the only aged Texas spirit currently on the market. Shaken with lemon juice, honey-lavender syrup and egg white, the fizz takes on an ethereal consistency. After pouring the cocktail, Bobby finalizes the presentation by misting half of the surface of the cocktail with Angostura bitters sprayed from a Misto mister, and garnished with a lemon twist. A fabulous drink.
Bobby's False Dichotomy cocktail
By Bobby Huegel
2 oz Railean XO Texas Rum
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
.75 Honey-Lavender Syrup
1 Egg White
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients except for the bitters in a shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and mist the bitters on top, over half of the surface. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Mindy Kucan of the Hilton was my co-host and technical judge for the evening.