Tales of the Cocktail is, for us industry folks, the organization around which the craft drinking world revolves. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s (primarily) a five-day annual festival for cocktail professionals and enthusiasts in New Orleans. It culminates in the Spirited Awards — the Oscars of the spirits industry — which crowns the winners of categories like Best American Cocktail Bar, American Bartender of the Year, Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer, and many more. If you’re interested in seeing a bit of the craziness in action, check out the 2012 documentary Hey Bartender, which features the event heavily.
The reason we bring this up is not just educational — Tales is right around the corner (July 13th, to be exact), and that means these last few months have been full of competitions, Spirited Awards nominations, and all kinds of other hype as people get ready to converge on NOLA for the big event. Central among those was the 2015 Official Cocktail Competition: Deaux the Daiquiri. In its seventh year, Tales of the Cocktail decided to honor the New Orleans classic Frozen Daiquiri by having bartenders from all over the world submit their “wildest and most original” recipes for consideration. The winner was announced last week!
We’d like to congratulate Spencer Warren of Butcher and the Rye in Pittsburgh, PA for stealing the show with his Desert Lily Daiquiri. Here’s his recipe:
2 oz Caña Brava Rum
1 oz Aloe Vera Drink
.75 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.5 oz Perfect Purée of Napa Prickly Pear
.25 oz Lemon Juice
2-3 drops Fee Brothers Lavender Flower Water
Amarena Fabbri Cherry for garnish
Add all ingredients into a blender with ice and blend until a frozen slushy. Pour into a large solo cup, Collins glass, or other vessel and top with an Amarena Fabbri Cherry. If using a large machine add water instead of ice for freezing.
Now, as much as we love this recipe, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also share the official Bevvy entry to the competition, the fantastic Gold Lust Daiquiri concocted by none other than resident Cocktail Lab mixologist Aubrey Schuster. We’ll let her tell you more about it:
Classic warm weather flavors of mint and pineapple were my inspiration. This cocktail evokes the spirit of the Greek nymph Minthe as she first laid eyes on Hades and his chariot. [From Wikipedia: In Greek mythology, Minthe (also Menthe, Mintha or Mentha) was a naiad associated with the river Cocytus. She was dazzled by Hades’ golden chariot and was about to seduce him had not Queen Persephone intervened and transformed her into the pungently sweet-smelling mint, which some call hedyosmus.]
Frozen cocktails aren’t something I typically make, so with the Gold Lust I tried to make a craft-driven drink with fresh, simple flavor combinations that would be as delicious as they were easy to reproduce. And on top of that, it needed to be something that would feel equally at home in fancy glassware or in a plastic go-cup. I used the most traditional type of rum (Bacardi) which, although on the sponsored alcohol list, was not the flashiest compared to some of the other flavored options. It just felt like the most traditional choice as I moved forward with the recipe, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
3 oz Bacardi Superior Rum
1 oz Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Lemon Juice
Several dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
.75 cup Pineapple Chunks
Add ingredients to an electric blender with ice and blend until ice is crushed completely. Pour into a double Old-Fashioned glass, plastic go cup, or other suitable container. For the garnish, separate the leaves of a pineapple stem and create a bunch. Use toothpicks or a mint vine to secure. Add to your glass after the Daiquiri is poured.
Whether you’re gearing up for this year’s Tales of the Cocktail or just sitting around wishing the AC could go higher than ten, these recipes are a perfect way to cool down and get in the spirit of festival season. We recommend giving both a try (or three), and feel free to share your own recipes on Bevvy!