During Friday night’s virtual competition, The Toast to the Service Industry four finalist bartenders presented their recipes and inspirational stories to industry judges, The Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash and Chilled publisher Jeff Greif, all expertly hosted by Adry Gonzalez of B LIVE.
Both Pogash and Greif were tasked with recreating each recipe while the competing bartenders created their cocktail and told their stories behind what inspired the concoctions. All the competing bartenders did an amazing job and the amount of views was outstanding.
While the judges deliberated, viewers learned more about the inspiration for the program, including the judging process and information about each spirit used in the final four cocktails from 375 Park Avenue Spirits Lena Braswell.
After tasting each, the judges chose cocktail Shades of Tjader, made with J.P. Wiser’s Rye Whiskey, lychee, mango ginger tea syrup, matcha powder and aquafaba. Inspired by Cal Tjader’s 1963 album, Several Shades of Jade, winner Manami York bartender at jazz club Con Alma, Pittsburgh, says the album cover and cocktail both integrate Asian influences into a Western concept. The judges agreed and both judges loved the surprisingly balanced result using so many unique flavors.
“Wow. Incredibly humbled by all the love and support in the last 24 hours. What an amazing experience during such an uncertain time,” says Manami. “I’m so thankful to @chilledmagazine and @375parkavespirits for your amazing generosity and innovative way to give back to the service industry. Thanks to @jpwisers and #soholychee for some fun booze to work with. And what a true privilege it was to compete with such massive talent from all over the country!
“Thank you to @thecocktailguru and @jeffthesquire for your patience with technological issues and making, drinking, and believing in Shades of Tjader. Make it at home, I promise it’s not as hard as you think! Finally special shout out to @emily.shann and @max_ferro for being super supportive and patient over the last few weeks. Several Shades of Jade was one of my favorite records to listen to during dinner service while being knee deep in service bar tickets, and I can’t wait to get back in the weeds with this record in the background. This one’s for jazz history and for Pittsburgh’s service industry! #cheers to you all.”
Third place winner of $3K was Adrian Gonzalez with his Mornings in Pai’a cocktail made with Van Gogh Mango Vodka, passion fruit liqueur, lemon juice, avocado and simple syrup.
Second place winner of $2K went to Naomi Levy of Variety Bar in Cambridge with her Wellington-Harrington cocktail made with Novo Fogo Silver Cachaca, Campari, beet syrup, lime juice, and parsley garnish.
Finally Katie Renshaw won $1K with The Staycation, made with Paul John Whisky, coconut syrup, lemon juice, diced mango and Greek yogurt.
Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you so much for participating in the Toast to the Service Industry. Stay tuned for the next one!!