Tribeca cocktails-&-super-high-class-snack-plate joint Bar Artisanal threw a cocktail contest, and a whole mess of people sent in submissions according to a few simple parameters: you needed a cocktail that was original, looked and tasted good, and went well with any of their amazing cheeses.
I was one of the five lucky people who got to try out the finalists and pass some big time on-high judgement upon them in front of the management, the audience and the universe, and while I fully resolved to be the Mary Murphy or the Tyra of the panel, honestly, it never really got to that, past a couple of off-color references to Greek supermarkets and a Sartre reference or two.
The six finalists were courtesy of Thad McArthur, Orr Shtuhl, Blair Frodelius, Linda Tam, Kevin Dea, and the winner, Alexander Doyne, whose unnamed fernet menta, sloe gin & lemon juice concoction was incredibly summery and bright even before the mint came, and afterward it was positively perfect. It was the only drink we tried that didn't need cheese to complete it, although the others (especially Dea's Corpse Canonizer -- gin, lemon juice, St. Germain, orange curacao, herbsaint & bitters --which also got high marks from the panel) were certainly worthy. Well, okay, there was one serious clunker, but every reality show needs its William Hung.
The winning drink, now called The Doyne after its creator, is available at Bar Artisanal through the summer. It's a gorgeous and smooth-tasting cocktail, regardless of the cheese plate with which you choose to have it. I recommend it highly.
Many thanks to Wendy, Alex & everyone at Bar Artisanal, and may I say, I would like to encourage the discussion of holding a competition like this every month. It's good publicity, you can't help but find good amateur mixers who should be maybe turning pro, they're a fun and cheap way to get people to come to your place for an event, and hey, the world always needs more and better cocktails.