Kevin Barrett, a mixologist and the owner of downtown’s Dram & Draught, is headed to New Orleans after winning the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild’s “Make it Exotico” cocktail competition last month. Barrett’s Samba in the Rain (see recipe below) was the favorite pick from a panel of four judges. The audience crowned Watts & Ward’s bartender Daniel Barnes and his cocktail Separacion as the crowd-favorite winner.
For the competition, mixologists across the country were invited to submit their best cocktail recipe using Exotico Tequila Blanco or Exotico Tequila Reposado, 100 percent agave tequila, as the base spirit. Panels of USBG-selected judges narrowed down the entries to 10 semifinalists for each of the seven competition cities: Miami, Raleigh, San Diego, Austin, Indianapolis, Denver and Detroit.
Bartenders had a maximum of seven minutes to make their cocktails in real time for judges, who considered each entry on its appearance, aroma, creativity, taste and overall impression. Judges included USBG professionals, tequila and cocktail experts and local media personalities.
Along with the trophy for winning the first leg of the competition, Barrett receives an all-expense paid trip to the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans to compete against the six other finalists for the grand prize: an all-expense-paid trip to Exotico Tequila’s distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. We’ll have our fingers crossed for Kevin as we attempt to recreate his winning cocktail at home.
SAMBA IN THE RAIN
•1.5 oz. Exotico TequilaBlanco
• 3 oz. soda water
• 1 oz. Aperol
• .75 oz. lemon juice
• .5 oz. agave syrup
•4 dashes Sombra Mezcal
Combine all ingredients except Mezcal in a shaker with ice. Shake, and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with soda water, and add dashes or spritz of Mezcal. Garnish with lemon wheel and pomegranate seed “flower” and serve.
• 1.5 oz. Exotico Plata
• .25 oz. Vida Mescal
• 1 oz. Montenegro Amarao
• .25 Agave syprup
• Rosemary sprig
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, stirred for dilution then double strained into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with smoked rosemary trapped in a bell jar and a rosemary sprig.