Top wine country mixologists and leaders of the spirits and bartending communities gathered on August 6th for the third annual Wine Country Cocktail Competition held at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Napa Valley Education Foundation and drew a large crowd of consumers, trade, media and key talent as the wine country mixology community competed for the most creative and balanced cocktail using base products from The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Charbay Distillery, Gläce Luxury Ice and a secret ingredient “Iron Chef” style.
“It’s so exciting to see the maturation of mixology here in Napa,” said Tracy Hayward, President and Founder of The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley. “We celebrate these great bar stars and the top-level talent this event draws to compete each year.”
Top wine country restaurants and bars that competed included: Spoon Bar, Jolie, Bouchon, Morimoto, and John Ash. The sixteen competitors were provided the entire Charbay Vodka portfolio, Glacé Luxury Ice, and a subset of The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley's 40 flavors, including their new flavors Beverage Artistry Thyme & Citrus Sour and Thai Basil and Black Pepper.
The “Iron Chef” style competition included an assortment of seasonal berries (secret ingredient), fresh fruit, garnishes, herbs, edible flowers, mixers, bitters and assorted glassware made up the shared competitor pantry– cocktails included The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Charbay and a berry in their cocktail, which was served over Gläce Ice.
Prizes were awarded to contestants and cocktails for presentation, flavor and creativity and were judged by Camper English (Alcademics), Ziggy “the Wine Gal” Eschliman, Brian Kropf (Mutineer Magazine), Pierce Carson (Napa Valley Register) and Jason Withrow (Bar Manager at Yountville’s Redd & Redd Wood). The first place prize of $150 and sponsor product was awarded to Michael Jack Pazdon of Goose & Gander, in St. Helena, for his creation that featured Charbay Clear Vodka and The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley pear puree.
2012 is the second consecutive year Pazdon has taken the top spot. A second place prize of $125 was awarded to Kelly Dallas of Solbar at Solage Resort, Calistoga, for his creation that combined Charbay’s Pomegranate Vodka, The Perfect Purée’s pear puree and a delicate rosemary infused simple syrup. Cappy Sorentino of Spoon Bar, Healdsburg, rounded out the winners, coming in third place with a fall inspired roasted red pepper cocktail. All three recipes are featured on the menu at Spoon Bar for August and September.