This week in New York City, Appleton Estate hosted their Remixology Finals: 2012 Bartender Challenge, where finalists from New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Nashville, Tenn., tested the mastery of their mixology skills for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica.
The event was held at New York City bar The Liberty, where the mood was a mix of '80s and '90s funk, tropical vacation, and college spring break; keeping with the theme of the sweeter (headache-inducing), fruity Jamaican rum — the event’s honorary spirit.
Judges at the event included former Real World cast member Jamie Chung, a mixology enthusiast, and fellow MTV alum Diem Brown. Other judges included cocktail experts Dale DeGroff, Natalie Jacobs and Colin Appiah.
Chung shared with TDM her enthusiasm for the event: "I love that Appleton Estate is all about fun, and that they really appreciate the mixologists and bartenders that serve their rum." To her, Appleton does a great job of including, and appealing to, their consumers, as evidenced in the evening’s event. "It is just so lighthearted and fun," Chung continued, "The crazy theme and the music theme are so fitting with the flavors, and yet it still has the essence of the rum."
Bartenders and event staff wore Flavor Flav-style chains and clocks, disco-inspired afro wigs, and other elements of costume garb. Jamaican-inspired bites were passed around the party, including Jamaican-style chicken wings, jerk-spiced lamb ribs, grilled shrimp with pineapple, grilled plantains, and vegetable sliders with pineapple remoulade. All bites had sweet and spicy flavors, save the welcome savory explosion in the vegetable sliders.
For the actual competition, the contenders were tasked with crafting specific drinks for specific songs, and were judged on theme, creativity, taste, and overall presentation. Drink stations throughout the event held the signature drinks from the contestants, and guests were able to taste them prior to the competition. From the strong to the stronger, the drinks used sweet flavors to complement the summery rum.