About magazine’s annual Signature Drink Competition

Engineer by day, mixologist by night — at least it would seem so. Michael Cudnik of Canal Fulton is this year’s About magazine’s Signature Drink winner. His drink — a root beer float with a twist — wowed the judges of the annual drink competition held at Tozzi’s Downtown.

Engineer by day, mixologist by night — at least it would seem so. Michael Cudnik of Canal Fulton is this year’s About magazine’s Signature Drink winner. His drink — a root beer float with a twist — wowed the judges of the annual drink competition held at Tozzi’s Downtown.

The recipe seems simple enough — whipped cream-flavored vodka, vanilla rum, alcohol-infused vanilla whipped cream and root beer. Combined, the mixture gives the distinct flavor of a creamy root beer float. Yum.

“It tastes almost exactly like a root beer float,” said the mechanical engineer for B-Tek Scales in Canton. “A friend of mine said his brother-in-law or someone tried the whipped cream-flavored vodka, so I decided to try it. I thought it was lacking, so I tried to make it taste more like a root beer float.”

He said it needed a vanilla flavoring and the creaminess, so, after five or six tries, he earned the approval of his friends, and knew he had a winning combination of ingredients.

Cudnik said his neighbor encouraged him to enter the drink in the Signature Drink Competition this year, based on rave reviews from friends and family.

“I wanted to create an easy-drinking and refreshing cocktail that everyone can enjoy,” Cudnik said. “It is funny I was chosen. This is just something I came up with.”

THE WINNER
ROOT BEER FLOAT

SUBMITTED BY: Michael Cudnik, Canal Fulton
ON HIS DRINK: Wanted to create an easy-drinking and refreshing cocktail that everyone can enjoy. I created this drink from scratch. I actually went through six different versions to get it right. They taste almost exactly like root beer floats.

INGREDIENTS:
 2 parts whipped cream-flavored vodka
 1 part vanilla rum
 Alcohol-infused vanilla whipped cream
 4 parts root beer
 1/3 glass ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:
Add ice to glass. Add vodka and rum portions. Add root beer to just under top of glass. Top root beer with layer of whipped cream. Stir vigorously to mix whipped cream into drink and make “creamy.” Top off with more root beer if needed.

THE RUNNERS-UP
THE SUMMER ROMANCE

SUBMITTED BY: Stephanie Gallagher, bartender, Picciano’s Martini Lounge
ON HER DRINK: We love St. Germain at Picciano’s. One night at work, a customer challenged me to “make something with St. Germain.” Summer was right around the corner, we had extra cucumbers in the fridge, and so the Summer Romance was born.

INGREDIENTS:
 3 half-inch slices of cucumber
 1 part Hendrick’s Gin
 1 part St. Germain Liqueur

DIRECTIONS:
Cut 2 half-inch slices of cucumber into fours, making them easier to muddle. Muddle cucumber slices in the martini shaker. Fill martini shaker halfway with ice and add equal parts Hendrick’s Gin and St. Germain. Shake vigorously until martini shaker is frozen. Pour into martini glasses.

CANDY CANE MARTINI

SUBMITTED BY: Travis Van Pelt, general manager, 91 Wood Fired Oven / 3Brothers Corner Tavern
ON HIS DRINK: Experimented and perfected the recipe as a bartender.

INGREDIENTS:
 1 ounce vanilla vodka
 1 ounce peppermint schnapps
 1 ounce Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

DIRECTIONS:
Take a chilled martini glass and dip the rim in a plate of grenadine and then in a plate of sugar. Fill a shaker with ice and add the vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps and Godiva Liqueur. Shake the mixture for about 15 seconds and then strain it into the glass.

CARIBBEAN BRONZE

SUBMITTED BY: Keith Joy
ON HIS DRINK: A upgraded twist on a Caribbean island favorite, this recipe takes you back on vacation. This concoction entices most of your senses through its bronze/shimmering color, icy texture, sweet and spicy taste and subtle coconut aroma.

INGREDIENTS:
(equal parts)
 Kahlua
 Baileys Irish Cream
 Amaretto
 Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
 Vodka
 Bacardi Rum

DIRECTIONS:
Drizzle chocolate syrup in glass, more for garnish/appearance. Using blender, mix equal parts with ice until smooth and easily poured.

KEY LIME PIE TAILGATETINI

SUBMITTED BY: Kim Shapiro, owner,TD’s Tailgate Grill
ON HER DRINK: Being from Florida, I wanted to offer our guests something that reminded them of relaxing vacation times (and warm).

INGREDIENTS:
 1 ounce cake vodka
 1 ounce whipped cream vodka
 2 ounces pineapple juice
 0.5 ounce Key lime juice
 0.5 ounce simple syrup
 Graham cracker crumbs

DIRECTIONS:
Run the lime wedge on the rim of the martini glass, then dip the rim in graham cracker crumbs. Fill a martini shaker with ice and pour ingredients in the following order: cake vodka, whipped cream vodka, pineapple juice, Key lime and simple syrup. After-dinner drink.