Wednesday, April 18, 2012

5th Annual Beacon Bar Martini Contest

Last night, I attended the Beacon Bar Martini contest with my wife and a friend of ours. As expected, we had a wonderful time. The 'martinis' were of varying qualities, and while some were better than others, there weren't any truly heinous ones. The secret ingredient was coconut vodka from Skyy which combines two of my least favorite things in liquor, vodka and coconut, so I found the cocktails better when they 'balanced' out the coconut flavor. I had four favorites, courtesy of DC Coast, Sky Bar, Occidental, and the Four Seasons. They were all quite good, and encourage me to patronize their establishment. Sadly, the DC Coast table was swamped, so I don't have notes on their cocktail.

Sunny Kim from the Sky Bar at Beacon Hotel did well on her home turf. She had two cocktails, one a chocolate one that pretty much only tasted like chocolate, and a far more successful pomegrate cocktail called "Acapulco is Dangerous." This drink incorporated lemon and a├žai with the coconut, balancing it out nicely. She also placed coconut jelly and pomegranate, giving some textural play to the drink.

Jo Jo Valenzuela from the Occidental prepared a drink he called "Flight of the Coco Melon." To the coconut vodka, he added some melon water (it looked like cantaloupe), cinnamon tincture, and fresh dill. I asked why he used a cinnamon tincture instead of a pimento dram, and he said it helped keep it light. It was certainly a nice, light and refreshing drink.

My favorite drink of the night was the "Coconut Delight," by Aaron Joseph of the Four Seasons and Sax. This drink used lemon and pineapple to balance out the coconut, and it was one of the few drinks that managed to taste good, and yet still taste a bit like coconut. As a garnish, he used a grilled pineapple. This added some smokiness to the drink, but the pineapple itself was a bit limp, and was big enough to hinder drinking.

The food was fine, but not the focus of the event, though I did really enjoy the shrimp ceviche. Now I can't wait for the competition to come back around next year!

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