Blue Hawaiian, Cadillac Margarita and Sex on the Beach – just three of hundreds of specialty drinks that already exist. Ponder then the determination and creativity necessary to come up with an imaginative new recipe.
Seven bartenders at Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas stepped up for the challenge on Aug. 25 in a contest that celebrated the end of the property’s successful United Way campaign. They could submit one summer or fall libation for three of the property’s many drinking establishments: Victory’s Bar & Grill, the sports venue; Casa Cocina bar, in the Mexican restaurant; and Waverly’s Bar, in the premier steakhouse.
Bartenders blended, stirred and shook up batches of their brews identified only by number and the clever names they were dubbed to capture their essence. Team members tasted them in 1 oz. sip cups and voted for one in each venue. There were no limits on ingredients, cost or time to prepare. Recipes were judged on taste, sight appeal and originality.
“All bartenders have a drink in their back pocket they like to whip up and this was a chance to put it to the test,” said Steve Uricchio, Cannery food and beverage director. “The key to a specialty drink is that it has to be a good blend of ingredients without any one ingredient overpowering the other.”
Fifteen entries were narrowed down to three winners, each of which will be added to the respective bar menus for the rest of the year, along with the name of the winner. They join a couple dozen staple specialties already being served. Bartender Dwayne Owan’s “Blue Lagoon” is rum-oriented with sweet overtones and will be served in Victory’s Bar & Grill. Bartender Oscar Daniel Medina’s “Summertime Blues” features Captain Morgan rum with pineapple juice and blue curacao – a two-tone eye-catching presentation, which will be served at Casa Cocina. Owan scored again with “Sweet Thang,” a refreshing after-dinner cocktail with a great fruity twist but not too sweet that will be featured in Waverly’s Bar.
Owan and Medina each won a dinner for two at Waverly’s Steakhouse per winning entry.
“I was impressed with the passion and dedication our bartenders had to participate,” said Sol Gonzalez, Cannery beverage manager. “They really put forth the effort to showcase their talents.”