Dozens of Broward-area restaurants and bars entered the Winterfest Absolut drink contest, vying for the title of this year's "Absolut Perfect Cocktail" but, of course, there can be only one winner.
After much deliberation, two finalists competed the other day at Bar Stache in Fort Lauderdale for the title and a $500 prize, after having won the social media portion of the competition. Each bartender was graded (by myself, Laine Doss) on the name of drink; presentation; originality; ingredients; and, most importantly, taste.
The bartenders who landed the coveted finalist spots were Mike Lehman from Bar Stache and Amanda Ellis from Oceans 234. Each were tasked with mixing cocktails that were both flavorful and representative of Winterfest and the holiday season in South Florida.
See also: Best New Bar - Bar Stache
Amanda Ellis' Oceanside Winterfest was a gorgeous cocktail, featuring Absolut Vanilla, Malibu Coconut Rum, and egg white. Rimmed with fresh coconut flakes, the drink looked like a snowy day on Fort Lauderdale beach -- if there were such a thing.
Mike Lehman's Winterfest Royale was a bubbly, yet potent, take on a Kir Royale. Made with Absolut Elyx, Fragoli strawberry liqueur, then topped with Moët & Chandon champagne, it was light, fragrant, and a great way to toast the holiday season (although it would make an equally wonderful drink any time of year).
After careful deliberation, Mike Lehman's Winterfest Royale was crowned the winning Winterfest cocktail.
Here are the recipes for both cocktails. Make both and judge for yourself!
Winterfest Royale (by Bar Stache's Mike Lehman)
1 1/2 oz Absolut Elyx
3/4 oz Fragoli strawberry liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
Moët & Chandon champagne
Mix all ingredients except for the champagne and strain into champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with Fragoli berries and grapefruit zest.
Oceanside Winterfest (by Oceans 234's Jess Grossman)
1 1/4 oz Absolut Vanilla Vodka
1/2 oz Malibu Rum
1/4 oz Blue Curaco
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/4 oz Cream of Coconut
1 egg white, (If vegan or do not like eggs, the egg may be removed)
coconut shaving for garnish
Mix all ingredients over ice into shaking tin and shake vigorously for one minute. Dip a chilled martini glass into cream of coconut then line rim with fresh shaved coconut.