Clinton Terry's winning "Tommy's Apple of Grenada" cocktail was full of ingredients like pomegranates, blood oranges, and farm fresh egg whites.
&Be sure to check out all 161 of our photographs from this event HERE!
NORTHWEST-- With a list of 2010 accolades that included a "Best of the Best" hotel award from The Robb Report and an enviable Zagat rating for its Plume restaurant, it's an understatement to say that The Jefferson Hotel keeps good company.
It was therefore no surprise to find five of the District's top mixologists mingling about the Relais Châteaux member property's exquisitely decorated hallways on Sunday afternoon, for the second biannual Quill Cocktail Competition.
The base spirit might have changed -- the sponsoring distillery for this month's competition was Jefferson Bourbon -- but the overall rules were basically the same.
Each bartender was asked to prepare a tray stocked with all of the tools, glassware, and ingredients he needed in order prepare his creation for a panel of judges. Said tray would then be carried into the main bar area when needed.
An ungarnished batch of each beverage was also to be prepared at the hotel by the contenders, prior to the start of the competition, to be presented to guests for tasting purposes (all attendees were encouraged to cast votes for their favorite cocktail, with the audience receiving a collective single vote equal to that of the other four judges).
Prior to the start of the competition, ticketholders were treated to a sampling from the cocktail menu of The Jefferson's own lounge, Quill, including a chilled "Sparkling Clementine" (Fresh Clementine Blend & Prosecco) brew and an equally tasty "Warm Wine Delight" (Red Wine Infused with Orange, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves and Allspice, Apple-Ginger Molecular Foam), with both created by Quill's own head bartender Luca Marcellin.
Kicking-off the friendly contest was Jon Arroyo from Founding Farmers with a Malbec-laced "Jefferson Cobbler", featuring plenty of fresh and sustainable ingredients.
Defending his title as the winner of the inaugural contest back in July, Bourbon Steak's Duane Sylvestre was back with a Clementine-tinged cocktail called the "Oh My Darling..." (inspired by a converted vodka cranberry he crafted at the request of a fickle customer).
Patrick Owens from U Street Corridor-based American Ice Company, another competition veteran, made a refreshing case for the "Separation of Church and Date" featuring a syrup reduction composed of equal parts date and blackberry, combined with black pepper and plum sugar.
As the judges tabulated their votes -- ranking each drink's creativity, taste, and appearance -- the competition came down to a semi-final tie between PX lounge's Clinton Terry and Oyamel's Joe Cleveland.
And while Joe's mulled wine "Bipartisanism" creation was as creative (contrasting colors, cultures, temperatures) as it was healthy (grapes, limes, apples, black pepper, and even Benefiber!), Clinton's "light and fluffy" cocktail composed of everything from pomegranates to blood oranges to vanilla to farm fresh egg whites, called "Tommy's Apple of Grenada" (so named after the pomegranate seeds President Thomas Jefferson planted at Monticello in 1771), proved simply too good to lose in the end.
Clinton's victory allowed him to walk away with an overnight stay at The Jefferson, including a complimentary dinner for two at Plume (complete with matched wine pairings), an all-expense paid trip to Kentucky to tour the famed McLain & Kyne distillery that produces Jefferson Bourbon, and, naturally, bragging rights for the next six months until the start of the next competition...
Ultimately though, it's the audience who walked away the true winner after having spent an afternoon sampling the work of some of the city's best bartenders.
We'll drink to that!
Be sure to check out all 161 of our photographs from this event HERE!