The first round of the Chopped Mixology Competition is in the books, and a good time was had by all. The contestants all put together a series of great offerings, leaving a lot of difficulty for the judges. The winner of the first preliminary round, who will move on to the final on July 12th, was Cris from M at Miranova, but not without some drama along the way.
I had not previously been to Mozaik, and I’ve got a second post about it coming next. For right now, I’ll just say that it is a swank joint, and is laid out pretty well for a contest like this one. With the walls wide open to the street, the atmosphere is wonderful. The sound system took a little while to get dialed in, but ended up working pretty well, which is both damned hard and damned important for an event like this.
Each night works as follows: There are three rounds of drinks created. For each round, the bartenders are presented with a sealed basket of ingredients. They must use all these ingredients to create four identical cocktails in twenty minutes, using the rest of the bar’s resources as they wish. They present their cocktails to the judges, who ask questions. After the judges have tried all the drinks, they score them according to a rubric that I’ll detail later on. The lowest scoring bartender is chopped. The remaining contestants return for the next round.
The first round was scored only to keep the format even, because the fourth contestant was a last-minute substitution. He was actually the guy who chose most of the secret ingredients earlier in the day. Under the circumstances it would have been unfair for him to keep going, a fact that was borne out by his actually being the highest scorer in the first round. The result was that Cris, who would other wise have been chopped first, stayed in the contest.
The final round came down to Lindsay and Cris, and ingredients included caramel macchiato ice cream and Russell’s Reserve Rye Whiskey. Both contestants put together very good offerings, and the judges required a lot of time and discussion to render their decision.
Brandon revealed the judge’s decision after each round by lifting a champagne bucket to reveal the drink of the bartender who was to be chopped. The only hiccup of the night came at the final reveal, when I was not sure whether it was the winner or loser who was being exposed! Regardless, as I said at the beginning, Cris was the narrow winner, and I’m glad I didn’t have to choose this week, as Lindsay’s drink was equally good.
The next round will be Monday, June 21st, at Mozaik at 8:00PM. Come on down, have some inexpensive drinks, some great food, and cheer on next week’s batch of bartenders vying not to be… chopped!