Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the American Spirits Bartender Competition, hosted by the National Constitution Center and the Hotel Monaco. The event was, in part, to celebrate the National Constitution Center’s exhibit, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of the Prohibition, which perfectly portrays the dynamic history, trends, and sprit of the Roaring 20s.
The competition took place at the Hotel Monaco’s Stratus Rooftop Lounge, a posh yet cozy venue with terrific views of the city.
The competition featured bartenders from XIX, 10 Arts, Square 1682, and the Stratus Lounge, all showcasing a different Prohibition-themed cocktail. Nate Churchill of XIX (pictured above) won the competition with his Orange Blossom cocktail, featuring Bluecoat gin, fresh lemon and orange juice, honey, and bitters, served up in a mason jar.
Chauncey Scates, of Square 1682, offered the Powder Room Punch, which mixed Bluecoat gin, cointreau, Jasmine Tea, lemon, grenadine, and dashes of Peychauds and Angostura bitters on the rocks. The cocktail was very earthy and fruity, with a pretty coral color.
Bess Gulliver (pictured at top) represented the Stratus Lounge with the Jazz Baby, made with Bluecoat gin, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao, and Averna Amaro, garnished with a flamed orange peel. The drink reminded me of an Old Fashioned, but with gin instead of whisky.
Stephen Diaz of 10 Arts served my personal favorite cocktail of the evening. Featuring Bluecoat gin, St. Germaine, fresh raspberry syrup, and a splash of Dry Brut champagne, the drink tasted like an effervescent raspberry sorbet. The St. Germaine, an elderflower liquor, added a lovely floral finish.
The competition was certainly a success. Thanks to the National Constitution Center for inviting me. And be sure to check out their exhibit, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of the Prohibition, where you can learn all about the history and culture of the Prohibition era and channel your inner flapper! The exhibit runs through April 28, and admission is free on Sundays.