We're a bit spoiled here in NYC--we have many of the best bartenders in the country serving many of the best cocktails in the country. So although New York really has nothing to prove, it's always nice to see one of our own go head to head with the top slingers in the land.
Earlier this week, Ben Scorah, mixologist and managing partner of Bar & Books, was sent to The Palms at Las Vegas to compete in the "Most Inspired Bartender" competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire Gin and GQ. Ben took the New York title at STK two weeks prior, where his "Vienna Cocktail" beat more than a dozen competitors. He will appear in GQ's November issue, along with 40 others from across the U.S. who were selected to go to Vegas. There, Ben made it to the top 10 final found, meaning that he will also appear in GQ's December issue. However, the top prize went to Christian Sanders of The Living Room at the W Hotel in Miami. Christian's "Green Sour Hour," containing celery juice, dill paste, and Himalayan black salt won over the judges: Bacardi’s Giles Woodyer; Bombay Sapphire's Global Mixologist, Merlin Griffiths; Style Correspondent Brett Fahlgren, for GQ magazine; and world-renowned mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim.
Nonetheless, I tried Ben's "Vienna Cocktail" at Beekman last week, and I found it a "most inspiring" take on the Negroni, so cheers to him for taking it all the way to Vegas. Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin 1/2 oz. blood orange juice 3/4 oz. Aperol 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica) 1/2 oz. simple syrup
Shake and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass with a flamed blood orange zest and a spritz of Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur.