Spirits of Mexico Festival Presents Nation’s First Sangrita Cocktail Challenge to San Diego

Expert judging panel chooses six finalists and weighs in on what makes a great Sangrita Cocktail

August 24, 2010, San Diego, CA: On August 17, 2010, top bartenders from San Diego and across the nation gave a “little blood”—cocktails based on the traditional Sangrita (translation: “the little blood”) during the first ever Sangrita Cocktail Challenge held at Barrio Star restaurant.

At Barrio Star, before a packed house, recipes from popular restaurants such as Barra Barra Saloon as well as respected artisanal tequila houses including Herradura, El Jimador, Don Eduardo, Agave 99, Nobleza, KAH, and Fortaleza were brought to life. The eye catching and mouth watering interpretations of citrus/spice/tequila companion were brought before the judging panel. Judges included Liquid Living Editor Elyse Glickman, Barrio Star co-owner and noted chef Isabel Cruz, National Tequila Examiner Ryan Kelley and Coyote Café manager Kenny Kaufmann.

While each judge had his or her definitive favorite Sangrita Cocktail, six emerged as fullblooded contenders that will go on to the Spirits of Mexico Sangrita Challenge Finals taking place at 6:30 p.m., September 15 at Coyote Café in Old San Diego. Top picks included Hot Maggie on the Rocks - Tequila Nobleza Reposado & Sangrita de Zapata (Alejandra & Andres Zapata), El Conejo Mordelon/The Biting Rabbit - Agave 99 Silver (Trevor Thorpe), Sangrita #2 - Don Eduardo Silver (Chris Leskowicz), Barra Barra’s Jalandro Sangrita - Herradura Silver (German Ochoa), Sangrita - Fortaleza Blanco and Sangrita Asada - KAH Blanco (Victoria Damato-Moran).

In the final round, the entrant with the highest cumulative score will receive a $1,000 cash prize, award trophy and certificate, and dinner for two at both Café Coyote and Barrio Star. The winning Sangrita Cocktail will also be served at all 2010 Spirits of Mexico Festival events during the weekend of September 17 and 18, including the Awards Dinner at Barra Barra Saloon, and the After Party at Casa de Reyes restaurant, the taste of Old Town Fiesta of Flavors event within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and the Main Event at The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant. After the contest, the sweet taste of victory will linger, as the winning Sangrita Challenge Cocktail will be served at Casa de Reyes and Barra Barra Saloon through September 2011.

Just as the emerging tequila spirits category offers a tequila for every palate and individual, so do Sangritas, which differ based on how much of the traditional base ingredients are used and what new elements are brought into the mix (including pineapple, pomegranate juice and cucumber). However, what all entrants had in common is that they were sensory representations of the culinary adjunct to experiencing the Spirits of Mexico…and spirit of Mexico.

The founders of Liquid Living Magazine, which serves as the media sponsor for the Semi-Finals and Finals of the Sangrita Challenge, see the competition’s successful first outing as a clear sign that tequila is going beyond the cocktail world’s inner circle and into the lives of people from all walks of life. Similar to the rise in popularity and notoriety of wine in previous years, tequila is working its way up to the respect and exploration it deserves.

“We were pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm we witnessed with this first competition,” says Liquid Living’s Editor-In-Chief Elyse Glickman. “People were genuinely interested in the action taking place at the bar, sampling the different representations of Sangrita and seeing how the judges weighed in during the blind tasting session. We predict the finals round will generate an even greater response because people not only like learning about new things, but bringing all of their senses to the experience of learning—something Liquid Living shares with Dori Bryant of the Polished Palate and Spirits of Mexico.”

The Sangrita Cocktail Challenge is part of the 2010 Spirits of Mexico Festival, the largest, oldest, and most comprehensive agave festival in the United States. Taking place September 15-19, the event will feature 200 styles of agave spirits in celebration of 200 years of Mexican Independence. The Sangrita Cocktail Challenge Finals will serve as the official kick-off event on September 15 at Café Coyote in Old Town, San Diego. The public is invited to attend and sample each of the finalist entries. (Cost: $25/$30)

For more information and to purchase all Festival event tickets please visit www.polishedpalate.com or call Dori Bryant at 727-947-3522. Ticket prices vary according to the event. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. Photo I.D. is required. Please polish your palate responsibly!

Background on Spirits of Mexico

The Spirits of Mexico Festival started as a one-evening event in San Diego in 2004 with 12 brands and 350 guests. Since inception, several elements have been added including a Tasting Reception & Dinner and the first Agave-Only Tasting Competition in the US, creating a comprehensive multi-day and multi-faceted Festival celebrating all aspects of this spirit.

About Polished Palate

Since 2005, the Polished Palate has been hosting cutting edge Tasting Events, educating the consumer on all aspects of each distilled spirit category. Through seminars hosted by recognized industry professionals, guests learn about the history and culture of each spirit, their impact on society, current trends and appropriate tasting techniques, while promoting responsible consumption—all in a festive format.

About Liquid Living Magazine

Liquid Living is a publication that truly fits the times and home entertaining trends, thanks to its distinctive niche: a consumer lifestyle magazine focused on making the best cocktail and spirits ideas from world class bartenders, chefs, event planners and destinations easy and accessible. Liquid Living is available in CA, IL, NY, TN, GA, OK & TX. Bringing a World of Cocktailing Home (www.liquidlivingmagazine.com).
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