City Tap House‘s Jo Jo Valenzuela created the winning cocktail at last week’s Elixir of Love Cocktail Competition held in the Embassy of Italy.
Valenzuela’s cocktail was the “Quanto e bella, quanto e cara,” or “How beautiful she is, how dear she is.” The drink consisted of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Ginger Lemon Syrup, and Passion Fruit. Not overly-complicated, totally delicious, and not just the crowd favorite, but my favorite too. Not too sweet, still refreshing. I went back for seconds of this one. Definitely in agreement with the collective winner decision; this cocktail was truly the best of the best.
The mixologists were tasked with creating a cocktail to represent The Elixir of Love, a romantic comedy Opera, being performed here in DC on March 25. As the winner, Jo Jo’s cocktail will be featured during the intermission of the Opera that day. The Competition was presented by the Washington National Opera, Washington City Paper, and BrankLink DC.
There were certainly other strong competitors. Like Frankie Jones from The Gibson. If you’ve never been to the Gibson, go. If you’ve already been before, go back. It is a wonderful speakeasy on U Street. It’s unique, and the drinks are incredible. For this competition, Mr. Jones created the Algernon, a cocktail with Gin, Duplin Blanc, St. Germain, and Orange Flower. It, too, was quite tasty.
Luca Giovannini and Daniel Munoz from Fiola Mare. They created the Lacrima Rosa, a combination of Vodka, Lemon, Simple Syrup, Rose Champagne granita, and cherry liqueur. This one definitely would win best presentation, in my opinion.
Jochern Zijp of Osteria Morini created Gray Ghost’s Last Stand. It’s a play on the cocktail called the New York Sour. As a huge whiskey sour fan, I was stoked to try this one. It was made with Catoctin Creek Spirit (essentially moonshine). The red wine drizzle on top was super cute; I enjoyed it. The drink was delicious! If you like anything-sour drinks, you’d like this one.
Up next, Russell Thrall, Farmers Fishers Bakers, created “A Madness Most Discrete.” This one was probably the most thought out; Russell had a whole spiel about how he came up with the cocktail and the meaningful significance of each ingredient. It was made with Gin, Angostura Bitters, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, Carpano Antica. If I learned one thing at this event, it was that I really like Gin!
W Hotel’s Joseph Ambrose with Trevor’s Love Potion: Gin Campari, Raspberry, Lemon, and Love. This one was a pretty pink color, and I felt like I could drink it all night.
There were definitely others, but these were my highlights. Gotta make it to City Tap House if you haven’t already!