Daniel Gonzales Shakes to Victory

During the 25th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Southern Wine & Spirits of America and Nightclub & Bar hosted the fourth annual 2010 Shake It Up! Cocktail Competition. Daniel Gonzales, mixologist and bar manager at Secreto Bar and Loggia at the St. Francis Hotel in Santa Fe, N.M., won the top prize of $7,500.

Gonzales, who has been in the industry for eight years, competed against 25 mixologists from around the country and was judged by Southern Wine & Spirits’ Armando Rosario, Livio Laurio and Bridget Albert. Judged on presentation, aroma, taste and creativity, Gonzales’ Spicy Secreto cocktail (Cabana Cachaça, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh sour, jalapeño and cucumber) launched him into the finals, during which contestants had to create a cocktail using the secret ingredient of balsamic vinegar.

Charles Joly and Daniel Gonzales
Finalists in the Shake It Up! Cocktail Competition included (left) Charles Joly in second place and (right) winner Daniel Gonzales.

Charles Joly of The Drawing Room in Chicago won second place; third place went to Mathias Simonis of The Velvet Hour in Milwaukee; fourth place was awarded to Darren West of Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas; and John Lermayer of The Florida Room in Miami earned fifth. Victoria D’Amato-Moran of Cent’Anni Cocktail Consulting in San Francisco was honored for the best garnish.

Check out the winning recipes here.

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