After all, 13 area mixologists turned up for the event with their own Beefeater 24 concoctions, in hopes of winning the $1,000 first prize, and City Of Ate was on hand to guzzle each drink and help pick a winner. So forgive us if our memory of the night is a bit patchy; we may or may not have blacked out halfway through the judging process. What we do remember is that an alarming number of the drinks we were served nodded to the Pisco Sour, with its use of egg foam and bitters.
The event, sponsored by Beefeater an the Observer, was held, in part, to introduce Beefeater 24, a gin aged 24 hours in Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. Most importantly, though, it gets you real drunk real fast.
It didn't help that the contestants were mixing, shaking, bruising, and serving drinks faster than the judges could ingest them. Still, we soldiered on.
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The criteria for judging the drinks was simple. Flavor and balance, expression of the gin, creativity, name, and overall presentation were the plum line in choosing the best drink, all of which used Beefeater 24 as the base ingredient. There were some that scored quite low, some that were pretty good, and three that stood out as the best.
John DeCarlis, who tends bar at Fort Worth's The Usual, came in third with his Pisco Sour inspired "24 Sour." The drink took the spirit's tea notes even further by using a complex blend of earl grey tea, simple syrup, and egg foam. The final product was crisp on the nose with a creamy finish.
Second place went to Michael Martensen, barman at The Cedars Social, with his drink "Desi's Delight." As the name implies, Martensen took a Cuban approach, making a drink more akin to a Mojito than the rest of the night's offerings. His use of almond in the drink prompted a WTF, and the judges decided the drink would go best in the summer.
The winning drink, however, used the upcoming autumn and winter as inspiration. "Bouquet of 24," from Victor Tangos' Kirsten Holloway, despite its terrible name, had perfect balance with all its ingredients. Again, the Pisco Sour was referenced, but "Bouquet" was a much softer, warmer cocktail. She used lavender, lime juice, egg foam, and simple syrup for a drink that will go nicely with the upcoming holidays, especially if all the family and festivities have you jonesing to get real drunk real fast.