Art inspired winning cocktail

A love of art is the reason behind the creation of the winning drink in the annual About magazine Signature Drink Competition. Neil Carpathios of Massillon wanted to honor artist Paul Gauguin with his drink, a tropical French margarita aptly named The Gauguin.

A love of art is the reason behind the creation of the winning drink in the annual About magazine Signature Drink Competition. Neil Carpathios of Massillon wanted to honor artist Paul Gauguin with his drink, a tropical French margarita aptly named The Gauguin.

Carpathios said he tends to like tropical summer drinks — and liked the idea of tying art into his signature drink.

“Paul Gaugin was a great French artist who escaped civilized European life in order to locate a tropical paradise,” Carpathios explained. “This drink is an escape, a tropical nirvana in your mouth.”

The Signature Drink Competition judges agreed, and commented favorably on the strong, smooth flavor of the winning drink.

Carpathios said he likes margaritas and has been experimenting with brandy lately, which made for an interesting combination in this drink.

“I have retained a touch of the French: French brandy (to honor Gaugin’s roots),” he said. “A tribute to the life of our dreams via the refreshing, fruity, yet rich and sophisticated and bold flavors of an island.”

THE GAUGIN (TROPICAL FRENCH MARGARITA)

Created by: Neil Carpathios
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of glass: Margarita
Preparation: Shaker

Recipe:
2 oz. Jose Quervo Gold tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. French brandy
1 oz. peach syrup flavoring
4 oz. pineapple juice
1/4 of an orange, squeezed
1/2 of a lime, squeezed

Technique:
Pour all of the ingredients (including squeezed orange and lime) into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for at least one minute. Pour into a large margarita glass, garnished with a slice of orange and lime. Glass should be ice-filled.

BLACK RASPBERRY COOLER

Created by: Cathy Wyatt
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of glass: Martini
Preparation: Mixing glass

Background: I found the recipe to this drink in an old magazine at my sister’s house. It sounded so refreshing, and after playing around with the ingredients and quantities (I like to taste my alcohol, not cover it up), I think I came up with a crowd pleaser.

Recipe:
12 oz. black raspberries (save a few for garnish)
1 package fresh mint (remove leaves from stem; save a few)
3⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
6-8 tsp. raw sugar
12 English cucumber slices (1/4-inch thick); save a few
11⁄4 cup Hendricks gin
1 cup club soda

Technique:
Ice/water down 6 martini glasses. Gently press first 5 ingredients against the side of mixing glass/pitcher with wooden spoon to release flavors and dissolve sugar. Stir in gin and club soda along with a little crushed ice. Empty martini glasses of the ice/water combo, then divide liquid holding back fruit. Garnish with raspberry, mint, lime and half cuke slice.

THE SOLAR FLARE

Created by: Jenn Skivolocki
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of glass: Zombie
Preparation: Built in glass

Background: With all the hubbub of 2012 Doomsday and solar flares knocking out satellites, I figure you might as well have something tasty to drink in the meantime. Sweet but not overpowering, it is nice for just relaxing with friends.

Recipe:
4 parts pineapple juice, chilled
4 parts sparkling soda water, chilled
2 parts triple sec
2 parts passion fruit rum maraschino cherry syrup
Extras: Passion fruit rim sugar, marinade injector, straw

Technique:
Combine first four ingredients. With a marinade injector or small baster, place syringe needle into maraschino cherry syrup and fill injector halfway. Place the syringe in the bottom of the glass. Press and dispense the syrup while quickly pulling up at the same time, leaving the middle with a beautiful “flare.” Or sip with a straw to go from a solar flare to a sippable sunset.

JALAPEÑO MARGARITA

Created by: Lora Kilkenny
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of Glass: Hurricane
Preparation: Built in the glass

Background: We drank the yummiest spicy margaritas at a bar in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The bar isn’t there anymore, but we recognized our old bartender on a ride up the gondola, and he gave us the secret. We modified the recipe a few times to create this drink.

Recipe:
1.5 oz. infused tequila (see below)
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice

Technique:
Pour one bottle of decent, but not great, tequila into a sun tea jar. Add 7 to 10 halved jalapeño peppers (leave or remove the seeds, depending on your passion for heat); 1 quart of fresh strawberries with stems removed and halved; and a whole pineapple, sliced. Let your tequila rest for 5 to 7 days, infusing it with a distinctive sweet heat. Add one (or two) shots to each glass with ice and juices as above.