Passion Fruit Showdown

Beads of sweat formed on mixologists’ foreheads. Arms manipulated shakers in a captivating blur. Fresh juices flowed. Mouths watered. And tantalizing new cocktails came to be.

Twenty-five up-and-coming mixologists took to the stage in the exhibit hall at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show last month to demonstrate two key attributes at this year’s Shake It Up! competition: (1) Their understanding and growing mastery of mixology and (2) their ability to use that knowledge base and their instincts to create an original recipe on the fly using a secret ingredient — passion fruit — revealed to them just before the competition began.  

Sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits of America and judged by a panel of its nationally respected mixologists, the competition dazzled onlookers as the entrants quickly set about the task of building a noteworthy drink. “This year, the contest confirmed that it is one of the top events during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show,” says Southern’s national director of mixology and spirits educator Francesco Lafranconi. “Now in its third year, the competition is quickly becoming an institution where 25 contestants express their best creativity and mixology skills to win cash prizes.”

The winners and their respective drinks are:

1st Place - $5,000
Victoria D’Amato-Moran, Cent’ Anni Cocktail Consultants, San Francisco

Passionate Woman
1 bar spoon fresh passion fruit 
1 ½ ounces SKYY Passion Fruit Vodka
1 ounce Aperol
½ ounce X Rated Fusion
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Grated nutmeg
Build, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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