Signature Drink Competition winner

The second annual About magazine Signature Drink Competition yielded many enticing entries this year. Five recipes were chosen as finalists. Those drinks were prepared based on the entrant’s directions by a neutral bartender for tasting by a panel of judges.

The second annual About magazine Signature Drink Competition yielded many enticing entries this year. Five recipes were chosen as finalists. Those drinks were prepared based on the entrant’s directions by a neutral bartender for tasting by a panel of judges. The finalists: Cafe Mocha Cocktail, Chocolate Covered Cherry, Ginger Martini, Slo-Mo and Voka Peach Slush. The runners-up scored high, but the winner received a perfect score from all five judges.

THE RUNNERS-UP…
GINGER MARTINI

Submitted by: Jackie Cassel
The background: My daughter-in-law told me about the drink, but her recipe was extremely sweet so I changed it, and the result is one that my martini friends always ask for.
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of glass: Martini
Preparation: Shaker

Recipe:
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup sliced fresh ginger
2 oz. vodka
1⁄2 to 1 oz. ginger syrup
1 large piece of lime, squeezed

Technique:
Make a syrup of the water, sugar and the ginger by bringing to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool. Then combine the vodka, ginger syrup and the lime. Pour over ice and shake or stir. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

SLO-MO

Submitted by: Melissa Groom, bartender at 3 Brothers Corner Tavern
The background: A co-worker came in on his day off from work and asked me to come up with a drink for him to enjoy. He said he wanted something that tasted good, but was not “girly.” We both remarked that it tasted like a vacation in your mouth.
Category: Pre-dinner drink
Type of glass: Highball
Preparation: Built in the glass

Recipe:
1⁄2 oz. Captain Morgan rum
1⁄2 oz. Patron tequila
1⁄2 oz. Midori
1⁄2 oz. blue curaçao
Fill remainder with pineapple juice

Technique:
Build the above ingredients in a highball or pint glass, and squeeze 1⁄8 of a fresh lime into the drink. Fill with ice, top the drink with a shaking tin, then flip upside down and shake. Empty the contents of the tin back into the glass and garnish with an orange for color contrast.

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY

Submitted by: Rebecca Joseph
The background: I was a bartender in Charlotte for two years and worked at an upscale nightclub. I had a very challenging regular that always wanted “something fruity, something different, something for a dessert and made with milk.” After experimenting for a while, I came up with the perfect drink. Needless to say, it became a hit throughout the club.
Category: After-dinner drink
Type of glass: Pint glass
Preparation: Shaker

Recipe:
1 shot Kahlua
1 shot amaretto
1 shot white creme de cacao
Drop of grenadine
Fill with milk

Technique:
Fill mixing glass with ice, rim the glass with chocolate sugar. Add ingredients and shake well. Top with a cherry.

CAFE MOCHA COCKTAIL

Submitted by: Moe Shaheen
The background: I was thinking about a good dessert drink and combined some of my favorite liqueurs. The result was a winner in our family.
Category: After-dinner drink
Type of glass: Martini
Preparation: Shaker

Recipe:
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur
11⁄2 oz. Irish creme
1 oz. vodka
Powdered sugar
Whipped cream

Technique:
Freeze a martini glass. When frozen, wet the rim of the glass with water and dip into the powdered
sugar to coat the rim. Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Pour into the frozen martini glass. Top with whipped cream and serve.

AND THE WINNER IS…
VODKA PEACH SLUSH

Submitted by: Cindy Mease
The background: Last summer, I wanted a cold, refreshing drink that would take advantage of the fresh fruits available at the time. Peaches were in season, and they make a great garnish.
Category: Frozen drink
Type of glass: Margarita glass
Preparation: Blender

Recipe:
4 tea bags in 4 cups boiling water
1 cup Splenda
2 cups vodka
2 large cans frozen lemonade
4 cups peach schnapps
8 cups peach nectar
1⁄2 cup amaretto

Technique:
Steep tea bags in boiling water for 3 minutes. Add Splenda and stir to dissolve. Pour tea into large plastic container. Add lemonade and stir to thaw. Add remaining ingredients and freeze mixture until frozen solid. (This should be done a day or more before serving the drink.) Before serving, slightly thaw mixture (about an hour at room temperature) and chop up until it’s slushy. Place portion of slush in blender and blend until pourable.

MEET CINDY MEASE

She’s the winner of About magazine’s second annual Signature Drink Competition. She’s not a mixologist or a bartender at your favorite neighborhood watering hole, but a retired schoolteacher who enjoys cooking, baking and, yes, coming up with new drink ideas. Mease entered her Vodka Peach Slush in the contest and was excited to have been chosen the winner.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I’ve never entered a recipe contest before.”

Her creation is a variation of one she created for the Christmas season that uses cranberry juice.

“I wanted something for summer, and I wanted fresh fruit,” she explained.

Mease said she serves her drink to guests all summer and keeps a batch in the freezer for winter.

“Everyone’s liked it so far,” she said.

Chuck Schuster of the Canton Club Event Center was one of the judges for the Signature Drink Competition. The Canton Club sponsored the event and mixed each of the five finalist recipes for judging.

“Putting the drink together was very simple,” Schuster said. “The aroma, smoothness and flavor of the beverage was outstanding. … a great spring or summer beverage that would complement a host of appetizers or entrees.”

Schuster invited Mease to guest bartend at the Canton Club during September’s First Friday. Her Vodka Peach Slush was the featured drink for the evening. She also was presented with the About Signature Drink Award and prize money during the event.

Mease said she planned to donate the money to a local food bank. Schuster said The Canton Club also planned to donate proceeds from the drink to charity.