This Summer, Blue Ice Vodka gifted each of the Chilled 100 Ambassadors a bottle of their premium American-made potato vodka.
Each member receiving a bottle was asked to create an original cocktail recipe which would include a minimum of 1 1/2 ounces of Blue Ice. The cocktails were then judged by a panel of judges representing Blue Ice Vodka.
The judges chose five cocktails from all submitted entries using the following criteria:
- Name: 10 points
- Appearance/Presentation: 10 points
- Creativity: 15 points
- Ease of Execution: 15 points
- Balance of flavors, aroma and character: 50 points
The five semi-finalists are Antonio Gonzales from San Diego, Alec Vlastnik from San Francisco, Corey Creason from New York, Shaun Gordon from Atlanta, and Sam Wiener from Miami.
These five finalists’ cocktails will then be mixed up to be judged by a second panel of judges. The winning bartender and his or her cocktail recipe will be awarded the grand prize: a featured spot in an upcoming Blue Ice vodka print advertisement. The winning bartender and cocktail along with the four runners up will also appear in an in book story in Chilled magazine, featuring their Blue Ice cocktail recipes and photos.
Here are the top five semi-finalists cocktails:
By Antonio Gonzales, San Diego
- 2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
- 1 oz. 50% Cucumber Simple Syrup*
- 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. St. Germain
- 1/4 oz. Crème Dr Violet
- 5 drops Bittermins Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
- 1 oz. Opolo 100% Colombard Sparkling Wine**
Preparation: Mix all ingredients in tin and quick hard shake strain and pour into Colin’s glass rimmed with Tajin and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with cucumber skin, cucumber wheel with tajin and tajin on the rim.
*50% Cucumber Syrup
1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 large Persia cucumbers peeled. Blend all together. Strain half with a chinos leave the rest unstrained for texture.
**Pooling 100% Colombard
California sparking wine with hints of apple sauce and cinnamon. You can use something similar.
Inspiration: My inspiration for this drink was here in California. As a Mexican a snack we would have cucumbers, lemon and salt with a little bit of spice, called Pepino’s. I wanted to make a drink that represented California and our simple flavors yet elegant with the spotlight on Southern California spa style flavors.
A little R&R
By Alec Vlastnik (San Francisco)
- 1 1/2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
- 1/4 oz. Raspberry Shrub
- 1/3 oz. Rosemary Simple
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in shaker, add ice, shake and double strain. Add fresh ice and garnish.
- 1 quart Sugar
- 1 quart Water
- 2 bunches Rosemary
Preparation: Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain
American as Apple Pie
By Corey Creason, New York
- 1 1/2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
- 1 oz. Calvados
- 1/4 oz. Amaretto
- 1/4 oz. Vanilla Cinnamon Simple Syrup (1:1)*
Preparation: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled (~40 revolutions). Strain into a chilled martini glass and express the oils from a lemon twist over the cocktail, running the twist along the rim of the glass; then discard the twist. Garnish the cocktail with a thin slice of apple (honeycrisp is preferred) and enjoy!
*Vanilla Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise with the seeds removed, and 4 cracked cinnamon sticks and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat source and allow to sit until it has reached room temperature. Fine strain the mixture to remove the vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. Stir in one ounce of Blue Ice Vodka to stabilize the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Coast to Coast
By Shaun Gordon, Atlanta
- 1 1/2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
- 3/4 oz. Grilled (GA) Peach Puree*
- 1/2 oz. Chareau Liqueur
- 1/2 oz. 18.21 Rosemary Sage Rich Simple
- 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon
- Top with Sparkling Poland Spring
- Garnish w/ Rosemary Sprig and Peach Slices
Preparation: Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker except for the sparkling water. Add ice and shake vigorously, then double strain with a fine mesh strainer into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling water and then garnish.
*Grilled Peach Puree
Take 4 Georgia Peaches, cut them in half, and remove the cores. Then slice into smaller pieces, lightly glaze them with honey and dip into brown sugar. Place them on a grill or under a broiler until sugars start to carmalize, flip over and repeat process. Set some slices aside for your garnish and put the rest into a vitamix or blender of your choice. Blend until smooth and then fine strain into a squeeze bottle.
Inspiration: I really wanted to invoke the “Made in America” feel by taking American made products stretching from one side of the country to the other hence the name “Coast to Coast” and incorporating them into an original cocktail recipe that speaks of who I am and where I’m from. Poland Springs is bottled in Connecticut, but the water to make it is sourced from Maine, paying homage to the Atlantic coastline and where my childhood and early adulthood was spent. The grilled Georgia peach puree and 18.21 Rosemary Sage Rich Simple tell you where I spend my time and work now, which is in the south and the city of Atlanta, GA.
Blue Ice Vodka is the next stop on our trek across America and takes us to the state of Idaho, where it is produced and all of the ingredients that go into making a bottle are sourced from. Finally we finish our journey on the Pacific coastline in California, where the Aloe Vera flavored liqueur Chareau is made about an hour and a half north west of Los Angeles.
This cocktail I feel shows the spirit of being Made in America by using only ingredients sourced from all over the United States by successful companies that were built here from the ground up and still thrive today, and truly represent the American dream. All the flavors were hand picked for specific reasons because of how well they work with each other and balance each other out. This cocktail pulls from my past, present, and possibly future and is everything I want to drink in a refreshing vodka cocktail.
By Sam Wiener, Miami
- 2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Vanilla Poppy Syrup*
- 2 oz. Pale Ale (I Use Mega Mix from MIA Brewing)
Preparation: Shake vodka, lemon and syrup with ice, strain into jar over fresh ice. Top with beer, gently stir. Garnish with lemon slices and vanilla bean.
*Vanilla Poppy Syrup
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1/4 cup Poppy Seeds
- Vanilla Bean, Split
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
Preparation: Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Allow to cool completely, strain through fine mesh, pressing to extract flavor from poppy seeds.
Inspiration: In thinking about a Made In America theme, my focus wasn’t on what’s being made, but rather who is making it. The hard working people, from factory workers and farmers who are making things, to nurses, doctors, teachers and first responders, who are making our communities better.
The American Dream is about everyone having opportunity, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. For many Americans, the first experience of working for something was as a child, with a lemonade stand. Deeply Americana, the idea of hard work and creating something good from what life gives you. My cocktail is a grown up lemonade. Note that your favorite local Pale Ale would work fine.