The great majority of cocktail "competitions" I come across usually are restricted to one establishment or one brand. New York, however, came up with a much more interesting one, its Sidewalks Cafe Cocktail Competition.
The city's Department of Consumer Affairs and the New York State Restaurant Association selected one winner each in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories in a competition at the Institute of Culinary Education.
The contest was for bartenders representing restaurants with sidewalk cafés, as licensed by the city. Fourteen of 25 competitors made it to the finals.
The winners, both from Manhattan:
• Alcoholic Cocktail: The Porch Swing, from the Blue Smoke barbeque restaurant on East 27th Street.
1 1/2 ounces of Hendrick's gin
1 1/2 ounces of Pimm's No. 1
4 ounces of fresh lemonade
Pour into a tall Collins glass. Add a splash of 7-Up. Finish with 10 finely sliced half-moon cucumbers.
• Non-Alcoholic Cocktail: Watermelon Lemonade, from Bubby's in TriBeCa.
2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 ounces of fresh watermelon puree, strained through a course strainer to remove seeds
1 1/2 ounces of simple syrup
6 ounces of water
Shake and serve over ice with a big wedge of fresh watermelon garnish.
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