Signature Sips

When better to revive our annual reader cocktail competition than in time for an entire issue dedicated to the best places to bottoms up?

Reader Cocktail Competition sponsored by M Bar

When better to revive our annual reader cocktail competition than in time for an entire issue dedicated to the best places to bottoms up?

This gig just keeps getting better! Earlier this month, after reviewing cocktail concoctions submitted by our beloved readers and narrowing the field to three drink recipes, we arrived at the swanky M Bar in Belden Village, armed with score sheets and the illusive Golden Shaker, set to bestow it upon a winner.

Joining myself and editor Kelsey Reinhart were Jeff Day and Judith Lancaster from the About advisory board, along with Maureen Ater, general manager, and Marci Saling Lesho, vice president of marketing and events, both colleagues at The Repository/GateHouse Ohio Media.

MeLana Parks, general manager at M Bar, and her team of mixologists crafted each of the cocktails with care, using the finalist’s recipes, and each judge tasted and scored the drinks based upon four criteria: taste, balance, presentation and originality (and no, we didn’t intentionally select three red drinks!)

After some serious sipping and discussion, we arrived at our winner: Jim Bentley’s Pomegranate Martini! While all three of the drinks were sweet and easy-drinking, the judges felt the martini stood out as having the most balance and complexity in its flavor.

Bentley arrived at his recipe through trial and error, seeking a pomegranate martini that wasn’t too sweet and syrupy, and extremely ice cold. He passed on pomegranate-flavored liquor in lieu of the juice to ensure the drink wouldn’t be too boozy and added the sweet and sour to balance it out.

As our Signature Sips champion, not only will he take home the Golden Shaker, but Bentley’s Pomegranate Martini will be on the new summer menu at M Bar during the month of April.

Can’t wait? You can shake up all three of these tasty ’tails at home using the recipes on the next page.

sigsipsPomMartiniWINNER: Pomegranate Martini
Created by Jim Bentley, development director, JRC (formerly J. R. Coleman)

Ingredients:
2 oz. Smirnoff (or similar) vodka
1 oz. Cointreau or better quality Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Daily’s Sweet and Sour
1 oz. Pom Pomegranate juice

Instructions:
Pour all ingredients into martini shaker over ice. Shake well. Shake again until ice forms on outside of shaker. Using a strainer, fill martini glass with mixture. Garnish with lemon.

sigsipsSecretRedheadThe Secret Redhead
Created by: Michael Elefterin, hotel operations manager, Fairfield Inn & Suites Canton South

Ingredients:
1 oz. Southern Comfort
1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
1/2 oz. Smirnoff Razz
2 oz. Cranberry juice

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a splash of citrus soda. Top with a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

sigsipsLemoncrestLemoncrest
Created by: Katherine Studer, bartender, Fieldcrest Estate

Ingredients:
2 oz. Absolut Citron
1-1/2 oz. Amaretto
Splash cherry juice
Sour mix
Sprite
Cherry and lemon slice

Instructions:
In a tall glass filled with ice, add Citron and Amaretto. Fill with equal parts sour mix and Sprite. Add a splash of cherry juice. Garnish with a cherry and lemon slice.