The Tampa, Fla.-based Bonefish Grill chain will host the “Best Cocktail Featuring a New Spirit” contest at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail on July 24. The contest allows any mixologist — professional or aspiring — to submit his or her recipe involving a spirit that debuted since July 2009.
After the submissions are reviewed, based on criteria including taste, innovation, recipe inspiration, freshness and presentation, finalists will present their concoctions at Tales of the Cocktail to judges Dale DeGroff, known as King Cocktail and author of The
Essential Cocktail, Francine Cohen, editor in chief of Inside F&B, and Leigh Merritt, director of bar innovation at Bonefish Grill. The winning cocktail will be featured on the bar menu of five Bonefish Grill establishments, and if it sees success it could be added to even more restaurant menus.
Merritt says this contest is just another step forward in Bonefish’s cocktail agenda — an agenda that relies on featuring fresh ingredients and the newest and most innovative trends in the industry. Because of Bonefish’s constant quest and desire to create the best quality cocktails at each of its venues, Merritt believes the “Best Cocktail Featuring a New Spirit” contest will not only pique guest’s interest, but also will keep Bonefish’s ever-changing cocktail program as one of the best and most ground-breaking in the industry, she says.
“Our guests know they can count on us to always keep their bar experience fresh, unique and interesting, and we constantly challenge ourselves to meet and exceed this expectation,” Merritt says.
With locations in 29 states, Merritt and the rest of the team at Bonefish rely on innovative cocktails and “bar fresh” recipes that enhance the cocktail menu and complement the dinner menu. In fact, Bonefish’s cocktail menu, which changes seasonally, ranges from contemporary cocktails including the Watermelon Martini, made with freshly muddled watermelon and a fresh watermelon “popsicle” garnish, to classics such as the Bee’s Knees Martini, a 1920s Prohibition-era throwback drink made with honey and lemon to cover up the alcohol aroma.
“We are constantly engaging professionals in our beverage program,” Merritt says. “Inspired ideas and new perspectives are crucial to keeping our bar relevant, and we are always inspired by new ideas and terrific presentations.” So it’s important that participants in the “Best Cocktail Featuring a New Spirit” competition keep this in mind when concocting new beverages.
“We are always in search of the newest trends and ingredients in the industry and this contest is just another fantastic avenue to try something new and different on our bar menu,” Merritt says. And by keeping an open mind and changing up their menu to better suit guest needs, this contest is a perfect opportunity for Bonefish Grill to stay relevant.