The Waiting Game, Terrence Jackson from The Tin Table
Winner of the People's Choice at the cocktail contest, Jackson's drink was as much of a charmer as he was. On stage he had a showman's bravado, and his cocktail did too. The bright pink hue came from the beet-ginger granita scraped into the glass, topped with rosemary-honey simple syrup and rimmed with dehydrated orange peel. The color was striking, as was the icy, mellow flavor.
Ship Canal Punch from Bastille Café and Bar
The most balanced and artful of the cocktails available at the second day's party. The tart, lemony punch was sweetened with pineapple gomme and Curacao. Based with local favorite and festival hit Big Gin, the Doulin Rouge gussied it up, and a sprinkling of nutmeg added final flavor.
Gin & Tonic from Small Hand Foods
Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods came up from San Francisco to teach a seminar on making your own ingredients for pre-Prohibition style cocktails. In pre-Prohibition recipes, she explained, 'lime' meant what we now call Key limes. Her homemade tonic has telltale hints of that Key lime sweetness, making this a unique and delicious gin and tonic.
Gun Street Girl, Matt Bailey from Mistral Kitchen
Named after a Tom Waits song, the drink has little to do with its name, short of the use of Gun Club Gin from Sun Liquor. The spicy, bright cocktail was a work of art, combining red bell pepper water, lime juice, clover honey, clarified jalapeño, and Helbing caraway liqueur. The sweetness of the peppers came through with just hints of the spice, letting the gin match up with the caraway flavoring.
A Drink to your Health, Keith Waldbauer from Liberty
The arrival of a new juicer at Waldbauer's Liberty bar served as inspiration for this drink. Fresh carrot and orange juice were mixed with New Deal #3 Gin, and New Deal Ginger Liqueur, along with red curry powder and habañero shrub.
Flaming Dutch Oven, Casey Robison from Barrio
This drink was an eye-catcher at the demonstration table. Served from hollowed-out pineapples and lit on fire, there was no missing it. The Dutch Harbor Breeze Grog that was the base liquor was a hit at the distillery sampling table, and the drink carefully balanced its flavor with honey, lime, cinnamon, fresh pineapple, Angostura bitters, and Falernum.
Man with a Gun on a Mission, from the Tin Table:
Nobody can resist the gun names when using Sun Liquor's Gun Club Gin. This pink potion earned the honor, on the second night of the festival, of including the oddest ingredient: blue cheese tincture. The cheese-y funk was nearly undetectable, though, under layers of lemon juice, blackberry honey water, and figs. Set up to match perfectly with the blue cheese and fig crostini bite they were offering, it was a touch on the gimmicky side, but still a made for a refreshing sipper.
Peach Legacy from Cedarbrook Lodge
Cedarbrook consistently brings some of the best snacks and drinks to food and beverage events around town, and this was no exception. Inside each mason jar was Bainbridge Island's Legacy vodka, 20 One semillon dessert wine, peach puree, orange juice, and lemon verbena. The mixture was just what you'd want in your glass on the porch on a summer afternoon.
Bloody Mary from Demitri's
Sure, it's a bit lame to have a mix (Demitri's is a Bloody Mary mix and accessory company) at a cocktail and distillery festival, but the bloodies that they were putting out were strong and spicy, and further improved when sipped through their pepperoni stick-straws.
Boozy Milkshake from Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
Where dessert meets cocktails, new restaurateur and maven of molten cakes, Autumn Martin, found her boozy milkshakes. While she's has multiple flavors at her Ballard storefront, party-goers toasted with this salted caramel espresso version, spiked with Bulleit Bourbon. A better way to drink your dessert might not exist.