To be honest, I enter most competitions for the prizes. Wait, you mean you don’t just love spending time testing recipes that include at least 1.5 oz of a liqueur as the base spirit? Um…no. Viva Sangrita! is a bit different. Just competing in the local round I felt like I won something already–I got to serve shots and sangrita to my fellow bartenders and the general populace, drink beer, and have fun. Plus, a free bottle of Tequila Ocho Extra Añejo ain’t too shabby.
Winning the local competition and travelling to New Orleans is where it got hairy. I quickly found out that I was on my own for sourcing ingredients and a kitchen for prep. After much stressing, I prepped everything in LA, cryovaced and froze the sangrita for transport. Special thanks to Med Abrous & Sean McCusker for the NOLA support. And I absolutely would have been screwed without the help of Mr. Edwin Cruz.
Thankfully, the competition was Wednesday at Tales, so I could enjoy the rest of the week. We arrived at d.b.a. and started “setting up”(read:drinking Ocho to soothe our nerves). It was a great party–lots of delicious Tequila Ocho, food, and sangrita was flowing. Guests were given a string of Mardi Gras beads and asked to vote for their favorite sangrita. We also chose numbers(mine was 7 out of 8) and we presented before a panel of slightly inebriated judges. It was clear that everyone was having a good time.
In the end, Ms. Shannon Ponche of Mayahuel in NYC took home the grand prize of a trip to Mexico.
The Bon Vivants surprised all of us with a bottle of barrel proof Ocho and some badass Kikuichi Japanese knives. There go those Bon Vivants, making everyone feel good again.