Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tales: Grand Marnier Bar Room Brawl

One of the highlights of Tales of the Cocktail in 2010 was the incredible Grand Marnier Bar Room Brawl on Friday evening. Six bars were selected to compete and each bar recreated their physical bar in Generations Hall in New Orleans. A group of industry luminaries such as Audrey Saunders, Tony Abou-Ganim and Allen Katz judged the competition.

Each of the six bars was tasked with creating two cocktails; once the judges had tried all twelve drinks, all six bars opened to the attendees who could then sample their drinks. In the interim and continuing through the evening, there were also two large Grand Marnier bars with free flowing beverages.

Pictured above is the Varnish drink menu.

The bars in competition were Drink (Boston), The Varnish (Los Angeles), Dutch Kills (New York), Rickhouse (San Francisco),Florida Room (Miami) and The Drawing Room (Chicago). What made the event so cool was that the six bars faithfully recreated their design, including a great scrim behind the bar at the Varnish set up, and a huge ice block just like at Long Island City at Dutch Kills. For attendees who hadn't had a chance to visit all six in person yet, it gave a great taste of the whole experience of drinking at the bar, not just a sample of their drinks.

Pictured above are Chris Bostick and Marcos Tello behind the Varnish bar.

The People's Choice Award went to The Varnish, who had Eric Alperin, Chris Bostick, Marcos Tello and Matty Eggleston behind the stick. Eggleston now lives in Chicago and reunited with the opening team of the Varnish to assist in the competition. Ricki Kline who designed the Varnish helped recreate the bar down to minute details. Kline and Varnish partner Cedd Moses of 213 were there to cheer on the Varnish team and help celebrate their victory.

The Judges award went to Drink, whose team was led by Misty Kalkofen.

Marcos Tello with one of the models.

Erick Castro of Rickhouse preparing to make a beverage.

Chris Bostick with the Varnish's award plaque.

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