Let’s be honest. If there’s one cocktail out there that best embodies our booze-loving city, it’s probably the margarita. (Or the paloma. Either way, we heart tequila.)
But once a year, Austin bartenders compete with each other to make slightly more creative offerings vying for the title of the Official Drink of Austin. The competition returns Thursday to raise money for the Austin Food and Wine Alliance and will feature cocktails from 8 local bars and restaurants: Nickel City, Odd Duck, Juniper, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Backbeat, ATX Cocina, Garage (a previous winner) and Fulton.
It’s fitting the cocktail competition has been moved to the Fairmont Hotel this year, as Fulton is one of the bars within the new largest hotel in the city. There, ticket holders will mingle, tasting each of the drinks, sampling bites from additional area restaurants and ultimately helping to select the people’s choice winner.
A panel of judges — which includes singer-songwriter Tameca Jones, New Waterloo pastry chef Amanda Rockman and Half Step owner Chris Bostick — will bestow the Official Drink of Austin title to the worthy finalist. Past winners have included Geraldine’s, Frank and the now-defunct Qui, and competitors have traditionally relied on locally made spirits for their cocktails.
You’re going to need food, of course. Restaurants providing the snacks while you drink include Vino Vino, Weather Up, Nightcap and Garbo’s Fresh Main Lobster. There will even be a sweet, boozy treat from Lick Honest Ice Creams.
The competition runs from 7 to 10 p.m. May 10 at the Fairmont Hotel, 101 Red River St. You can still buy $70 general admission tickets online, which is advised, as the tickets will jump to $85 at the door. For more information, visit austinfoodwinealliance.org/2018-official-drink-of-austin-cocktail-competition.
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