Pamela Wiznitzer of the Dead Rabbit in New York is the 2014 Star of the Bar thanks to her La Bonita cocktail recipe. The national cocktail competition, hosted by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event (IWSB), this year solicited the best original drink recipe using Casamigos tequila.
Entrants submitted a YouTube video and a written recipe. The entries were culled down to six semi-finalists, who were flown to Chicago to demonstrate their cocktails on the IWSB show floor on May 18. Attendees voted on the drinks and narrowed the field to three mixologists: Wiznitzer, Brandon Phillips of Bottlefork in Chicago and Egor Polonskiy of Jimmy at the James in Chicago.
The final competitions took place that night at the Restaurants Rock party at Castle Chicago, hosted and emceed by Andrew Zimmern, chef, food writer, and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. The three cocktails were judged by master mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff, along with Bridget Albert from Southern Wine & Spirits.
The scores were incredibly close, according to the judges, but Wiznitzer (pictured above with Zimmern) edged out the other two and she took home the honors—bragging rights for a year and a $5,000 check. Here’s the winning recipe.
1 ¾ oz. Casamigos reposado tequila
¼ oz. Rose liqueur
¾ oz. Lemon juice
¾ oz. Fresh-pressed apple juice
1 tbsp. Strawberry preserves
3 Dashes Bittermens Burlesque bitters
3 Dashes Absinthe
Combine ingredients in a tin with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a rose petal.