|E. Tyler Alford's winning drink|
If you've been trying to decide which day to go to Taste of Atlanta this year, my suggestion is to do both Saturday and Sunday, because, trust me, you do not want to miss out on the Barcraft Competition presented by Fernet-Branca! I went to the Quarter Finals that were held at the Painted Pin, Bellwoods Social House and the Family Dog, and the contestants who are competing for the coveted title made some amazing cocktails!
First, let me say thank you for the amazing hospitality shown by all of the venues hosting the Quarter Finals, the food was all delicious, and the punch, don't even get me started! Graham Lansford's punch at Bellwoods - Cutty Sark Prohibition, Stirrings Ginger liqueur, black and almond tea rich syrup, fresh, unstrained lemon juice, a splash of club soda and fresh thyme leaves was so very easy to drink, I had to stop myself from chugging the entire bowl!
The first round at Painted Pin featured some of the fruitiest entries with lots of pineapple, coconut, berries and even hibiscus, which paired beautifully with the featured spirit, the Fernet-Branca. The Semi Finalist selected was Bobby Eldridge from Empire State South, whose Tiki inspired cocktail was as beautiful to look at as it was tasty to drink.
The next round at Bellwoods featured some stiff competition, but E. Tyler Alford from Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, beat out all of our Atlanta favorites. I will say his Bull's Blood concoction was pretty amazing, I even asked for the recipe. He said he would email it to me, but he hasn't, so I'll have to try and get it from him this weekend.
|E. Tyler Alford|
The last round was held at the Family Dog after a last minute venue change and despite more stiff competition from some of my favorite people - Paige Lane, Graham Lansford, Timothy Thiel and Leo de Rivera, yet another out-of-towner took the prize, Marcelo Nascimento from the Social in Chattanooga.
Luckily Atlanta's bartenders got a second chance to advance when Charles Freeland from the Painted Pin won the coveted crowd favorite spot. He knows how to work social media, he even created an event on Facebook to get all of his friends out to vote for him, take note less savvy competitors!