To those of you who follow me on Twitter, I apologize for the lousy job I did of Tweeting the Park City Cocktail Contest last night.

I had every intention of letting you know who was shaking up what, and what I thought about it from beginning to end.
 
But somewhere around the fifth cocktail, I kind of lost track. You try Tweeting on your Droid in a noisy bar while you're drinking 16 cocktails and trying to figure out how many points in each of three categories each one deserves while the proud bartender is telling you about how they made the beet puree and where they got the Poprocks.

Tough job, as they say, but someone has….oh, you know.

Last night's event at Cisero's was the 4th or 5th time I've been a cocktail judge–this time my compadres were Ted Scheffler (food editor, City Weekly), Kristen Case (food editor, Park City magazine), Casey Metzger, (Owner of Top Shelf), Chris Wadell (Paralympian), And me.

And I think it was the best night of mixology this event has presented yet. There were lots of–not just inventive, I've sipped a lot of that over the years–actually GOOD drinks. Part of it is the amazing palette bartenders have to work with now: Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, which supposedly tastes like whipped cream; Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur; peach-flavored soda; Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka; Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur; and the homemade ingredients like the beet puree and tincture of cinnamon.

Still, some ingredients were notably missing, in my opinion. There was not a single tequila cocktail offered, and only one used bitters, which in many contemporary bars take up a whole shelf.

Past champion Bonnie Ulmer

from Royal Street at Deer Valley mixed up the Radler "Cyclist" ( High West 2000 Vodka, Provo Girl Pilsner and simple syrup, garnished with lemon wedges and several sprigs of rosemary.) 

"The Walking Doda" (soda means dead)  from Silver's mixologist was a tropical spice concoction featuring Aquavit, maraschino liqueur, Cointreau, grapefruit juice, lime juice cinnamon tincture, given a froth with shaken egg white.

But the contest really came down to three drinks: the Lemon Merengue

from Cena (Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, Limoncello and simple syrup in a martini glass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs and lemon, garnished with a toasted marshmallow floating on a lemon slice raft.

The Phat Beetz from Farm at Canyons, was based on believe-it-or-not a sous-vide spiced beet puree made from organic beets from Zoe's, garnished with preserved lemon peel.

mixed with Hendrick's gin, a little soda and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, served in a beet sugar-rimmed glass.



The winner: “Flower & Pine,” made by September Bickmore

of Deer Valley Grocery~Café–yes, a cocktail from a grocery store. Very un-Utah. Made with Beefeater gin, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur (the favorite ingredient of the night), Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur and Peychaud bitters. This the sophisticated drink that will be Park City’s “Signature Cocktail” for spring and summer 2012.

Here's how to make it:
“Flower & Pine”
Presented by September Bickmore and Bonnie Ulmer, representing Deer Valley Grocery Cafe
1 ½ oz. Beefeaer Gin
½ oz. St. Germaine Liqueur
½ oz. Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 Lemon Wedge
Sugar for rim in Martini glass