Kevin and I had the chance to attend the All-Star Mixologist After Party for the 8th Annual Wine and Food Festival in San Diego. It took place last Saturday at the US Grant Hotel and was put on by the San Diego Chapter of the Bartender’s Guild.
The event was held in the Presidential Ballroom and featured San Diego’s top mixologists, each preparing different cocktails for guests to enjoy throughout the night. Mixologists included:
Anthony Schmidt – Noble Experiment
Brian Prugalidad – Craft and Commerce
Tim Stevens – Prohibition
Ian Ward – Snake Oil Cocktail Co./Searsucker
Jeff Josenhans – Grant Grill/US Grant Hotel
Adam Stemmler – Vin de Syrah
Antonio Gonzales – Mistral at Loews
Three cocktails were prepared each hour by the different mixologists and every hour the bartenders and the drinks would change allowing Kevin and I to sample 8 different cocktails! Flavors ranged from strawberry infused vodka to chai eggnog to a champagne and scotch cocktail dubbed “a bottle of champagne left next to the campfire.” The drinks were interesting, tasty, fresh, and experimental but provided a great way for the bartenders to show their talent by adding their own creativity and talent and even some of their homemade ingredients.
Here is a list of the different drinks and their ingredients (names are labeled if they were included at the event):
1. “Smoking Buddha”
Hennessy Black, Smoked Buddha’s Hand Sugar Syrup, Jasmine water, Domaine Chandon
2. Strawberry infused vodka, US Grant rooftop cinnamon basil, Luxardo maraschino rinse
3. Hennessy Black, fennel seed infused maraschino, Karl Strauss Red Trolley, fresh pressed apple juice, Peychauds bitters
4. “Occupy Your Liver”
Grand Marnier, Luxardo maraschino, fresh pressed lemon, Ardberg and orange foam, orange zest
5. “Bubbles at Burgundy’s”
Ardberg Scotch, coriander citrus, honey syrup, grapefruit, Domaine Chandon, fresh lavender blossom
6. “Holiday Sauce”
Grand Marnier, fresh pressed lemon, spiced persimmon cranberry syrup, Karl Strauss Tower IPA, orange peel
7. 10 Cane Rum, cinnamon mint syrup, lime, juniper, pear bitters, sarsaparilla pastis foam
8. Chai Eggnog
This recipe was not included because it is a secret family recipe according to Tim Stevens, head bartender at Prohibition and President of the San Diego Chapter of the Bartender’s Guild.
Complete with live music, an oyster bar, and more cocktails than one could ever drink, Kevin and I had a great experience networking with the mixologists and experiencing the local talent. We both agreed the best drink was the “Holiday Sauce” as made by Seth Laufman from the Palomar Hotel. It tickled the palate just right with the IPA and then smoothly finished with the spiced persimmon cranberry syrup that added a great holiday taste to the drink.
The most surprising part of the event was the friendliness of the bartenders. All were excited to share their drink inspirations and chat with us. Several asked us to come in and visit, even offering to cover the first round of drinks. We are definitely excited about visiting some new bars and restaurants that these bartenders call home and joining as members of the San Diego Chapter of the Bartender’s Guild.