Now that was a showdown…
This past Sunday saw the 4th heat of 6 of the ongoing “Shine Showdown” bartender competitions at Shine by Ric’s featuring Southern Comfort as the key spirit and “Whatever’s Comfortable” as the theme.
The man with possibly the best name in bartending, Etienne Champagne of Smack Dab Manteo kicked things off with his “Southern Royal” utilizing maple whisky, maple liqueur and orange oil to underscore the vanilla in the Southern Comfort. Rimmed with orange sugar, this was a great start to the evening.
Next up was Chris Hall of Twisted Tomato with a hilarious ode to Lulu Lemon founder Chip Wilson: a Southern Comfort and Maple/ Peppercorn Lemonade finished with Rosemary and Cajun spiced “James Carville” Potato chips as garnish. Chris was also sporting a “onesie” for his presentation to showcase how “comfortable” he was.
Liquid Chef Micah Jensen of RauDZ Regional Table stood behind the “Chef” moniker in his title and brought in the molecular culinary work with his amazing “Built for Comfort, not for Speed,” showcasing Cryovac infused basil Southern Comfort with burnt almond Sous Vide Woodford Reserve and OJ and garnished with Woodford Reserve infused Chili-Spiced almonds.
Luke Altherton of Ricardo’s wowed the judges with his presentation of “Southern Love” showcasing his culinary acumen by creating a cocktail which enhanced the Southern Comfort with a Sweet Potato and Corn reduction and citrus, served on a “Charred Cornbread” coaster to represent Brown Forman’s barrel charring techniques and garnished with a side plate of fresh baked cornbread.
Harry Dosanj of Poppadoms went last, and stole the show, winning his third competition in a row with a cocktail called “South Coast” paying homage to his family’s roots on the South coast of England and Southern Comfort. Harry combined Southern Comfort with Moteas Organic Assam tea, lemon juice, his “Mama’s Chai Tea Syrup” and a hint of Mango Puree and egg white shaken and strained into an elegant coupe glass and garnished with mint and flower petals. The complexity of this cocktail was spectacular, with all of the notes of the supporting players uplifting the Southern Comfort to new heights.
A truly remarkable evening of cocktails by the Okanagan Cocktail Movement and hosted by the impeccable Jessica Skinner, this was the best cocktail competition yet of the series and one of the best showings from our talented local barkeeps. The Shine Showdown continues into its last heat in April and a “black box” finale to follow in May. Stay tuned for dates!
By Gerry Jobe
Photos of the fabulous five barmen and their cocktails:
Etienne Champagne of SmackDab Manteo Resort, Kelowna
The Southern Royal
Chris Hall of Twisted Tomato, Kelowna
Southern Comfort and Maple/ Peppercorn Lemonade finished with Rosemary and Cajun spiced “James Carville” Potato chip
Luke Atherton of Ricardo's Mediterranean, Lake Country
Southern Love on a charred cornbread coaster
Micah Jensen of Raudz Regional Table, Kelowna
Built for Comfort, not for Speed
Spotlights on Harry! Dosanj of Poppadoms wins his third competition in a row
The winning South Coast Sour
Harry with his spoils, and lovely host Jessica Skinner
Gerry Jobe and Micah Jensen, post competition recap/night cap