Toasting Jerez, Supersize Punchbowls & Black Friday

One of the biggest cocktail showdowns goes down in Brooklyn, N.Y., this week, with some of America’s best-known bartenders competing. Phil Ward of Mayahuel in NYC, Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston, Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va., Charles Joly of the Drawing Room in Chicago and Danny Valdez of Cure in New Orleans compete with five others in the live finals on Dec. 15 at Clover Club to determine the winner of the 2009 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition.
The nationwide competition features bartenders showcasing the diversity of sherry and its usability in cocktails and matching with food. The contestants’ cocktails have to be featured on a working, existing restaurant or bar cocktail program and can be made with any style of sherry (fino, manzanilla, oloroso, amontillado, palo cortado, Pedro Ximenez), coming from any bodega in Jerez, Spain. In addition to making the drink, each finalist is grilled by the judges about the cocktail’s construction, service ideas, best food match and other food-cocktail details. An all-expense paid trip to Jerez, cash and a full scholarship to the BAR school are among the prizes. Finalists’ recipes are available here.

The firm of Bompas & Parr creates fine English jellies, designs bespoke jelly moulds and curates culinary events. Last week, the team — creators of the U.K.’s first walk-in cocktail (a sauna-like room of vaporized gin and tonic) — joined forces with Courvoisier to create the world’s largest, drinkable punchbowl as part of its Architectural Punch Bowl competition. Contestants who submitted recipes for the cocktail competition had the opportunity to see 4,000 liters of their punch — the equivalent of 25,000 portions. Londoners were invited to have a glass and even boat across the surface of the bowl.

NYC’s The Oak Room, around the corner from one of the world’s most famous shopping areas, provided relief for shoppers on Black Friday with a complimentary dram of The Dalmore Gran Reserva paired with chef Eric Hara’s snacks like black truffle lobster tacos and short rib dumplings with mole.


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