May 21st, 2009

Brunch bartender battle

burtons-grillStaying in town this weekend? Then stop by Burton’s Grill on Boylston St. Saturday between 11:00 and 3:00 for the first annual B4 (Boston’s Best Brunch Bartender) Challenge. The event, whose proceeds will go to I Hate Cancer, pits nine bartenders from nine different Boston neighborhoods against each other in a mix-off. The winner gets to showcase his or her cocktail on Drink this! a new segment on NECN’s TV Diner, whose co-host, Jennie Johnson, will emcee the B4 Challenge. The thing I like about all this, besides the good cause it’s benefiting, is that I will be one of the judges. Sweet.

You don’t need to buy tickets or make a reservation, just show up, order a drink and a plate of eggs, and enjoy the festivities. The sponsor of B4 is Absolut Mango vodka, which means that all of the competing cocktails will contain this spirit. I know what many of you are thinking. ‘Flavored vodka? Lame.’ But I like the idea of bartenders starting with any prescribed cocktail ingredient and creating something interesting and tasty with it. Here are the contestants and their bars (good luck to all):

  • Michael Ahearn, Stella
  • Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard
  • Janessa Davis, Boston Beer Garden
  • Mike Doyle, Harvard Gardens
  • Joe Kin, Florentine
  • Chris Little, Burton’s Grill
  • Matt Stricos, Stephanie’s on Newbury
  • Katrina Turner, Red Sky
  • Paul Westerkamp, 33 Restaurant

Hope to see you there!

Permalink | Filed under Bartenders, Boston bars, Brunch, Vodka | Tags: , , ,

9 Responses to “Brunch bartender battle”

  1. Jacqueline Church

    Hey Girl – see you there. Am judging too. I agree with your sentiment. This is a fun event for a good cause. And it may be a big surprise to the upper echelon cocktailians…but there are a lot of people that like these things. I like the notion of a more egalitarian cocktail revolution. ;-)

  2. ljclark

    Hey, cool, Jackie! Embrace the mango.

  3. MC Slim JB

    I’m all for egalitarianism in cocktails, but I draw the line at mango vodka.

  4. Arnold

    How about cranberry vodka? I know many Russians who seem to enjoy a little taste in their distilled spirits. Besides I’m sure very good things can be done with most spirits, and that flavors are up to the tastes of the individual drinker.

    The type of alcohol doesn’t make bad drinks, people do: a bar can be stocked with only top shelf gin, rum, vodka, tequila, triple sec, etc. and someone can still ask to combine it all in a long island iced tea.

  5. MC Slim JB

    I’m all for cranberry vodka, chilled and knocked back neat, in a Russian restaurant: context is all.

    And in all seriousness, I expect that lineup to turn out some great drinks. But as Lauren has documented well here, flavored vodka is a scourge that doesn’t need encouragement, a crutch on which far too many lame, oversweet specialty cocktail menus rest. I’m kind of agin’ it on principle.

  6. ljclark

    Cranberry vodka… makes me imagine a whole line of specialty vodkas with “New England flavors” (and distilled from Maine potatoes): baked bean n’ brown bread, cod cake, clam chowder, Moxie…

  7. MC Slim JB

    Necco wafer vodka in multiple pastel hues; Marshmallow Fluff vodka; Dunkin Donuts glazed vodka (for that vodka glaze); Autocrat coffee vodka; Whoopie pie vodka; Indian pudding vodka.

  8. ljclark

    Yes! Brilliant stuff. New England distillers, get busy.

  9. Adam L

    What about Fenway Frank infused vodka? Perfect for those backyard BBQs!

    Or make a Vodka Martini with it, garnish with a steamed hotdog bun and serve with a side of mustard packets.

    Have a great long weekend all!

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