They shook. They sparkled. And they stirred. But there could only be one winner at the second-annual Shake, Sparkle & Stir (SSS) signature drink competition.
Held at the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference (MUFSO) in Dallas, Texas, SSS is an exciting mixologist competition sponsored by Coca-Cola to showcase the key role the company's products play in specialty drink recipes.
“In the restaurant industry, specialty drinks are signature items on the menu,” says Megan Tallman, vice president, customer and trade communications, Coca-ColaNorth America. “We want our customers to see Coca-Cola as a partner to help develop and enhance those beverages.”
SHAKIN’ UP THE COMPETITION
Three mixologists from different restaurant chains went head to head (or drink to drink) in a live mixologist showdown. Contestants were asked to explore fresh drink recipes and create a signature cocktail, or mocktail, incorporating one Coca-Colaproduct and one new Seagram’s Specialty Syrup.
This year’s contestants included Faith Meyers from Walk-On’s, who served Berries on the Bayou; Steve Gaskell from Ruby Tuesday, with his cocktail Fresh Fix; andKatie Livezey-Buckholt from TGI Friday’s, with her specialty concoction, Thai Tropic Cooler.
L-R: Fresh Fix, Berries on the Bayou, Thai Tropic Cooler
A panel of industry experts scored each drink based on five criteria: Innovative ingredients; preparation technique; taste/flavor profile; presentation appeal; and naming creativity.
SETTING THE BAR
But before awarding the coveted "silver shaker trophy," each mixologist took the stage to shake things up a bit alongside comedian and SSS emcee, Oliver Tull. Guests gathered around thirsty with excitement and even thirstier for free cocktails.
It was finally time for these drink slinging rivals to set the bar.
First up was Myers with a New Orleans- inspired spirits, Berries on the Bayou. Decked out in her Walk-On’s cheerleader uniform, Myers pepped up the crowd with her berrilicious recipe made with Minute Maid Lemonade and Seagram’s Citrus Medley Syrup.
Next up, Gaskell from Ruby Tuesday with a drink as fresh as the name, Fresh Fix. Hailing from Knoxville, Tenn., Gaskell fixed up his recipe with Simply Lemonade, Seagram’s Ginger Specialty Syrup and a dash of Southern charm.
Emcee Oliver Tull introduces mixologist Steve Gaskell.
Last but certainly not least, Buckholt immediately wowed the crowd with some fancy bartending tricks. The TGI Friday's mixologist followed up her bottle throwing act with an equally impressive drink called Thai Tropic Cooler. The beverage includedSeagram’s Ginger Ale and Ginger Syrup.
TOASTING A WINNER
Judges and active spectators sipped their drinks down until only ice remained. It was time to toast a winner. (Drum roll please) And the winner is... Faith Myers with Berries on the Bayou! Not only was she given a ridiculously creative shaker trophy, Myers also took home a grand prize trip for two to the annual Tales of the Cocktailevent in New Orleans, La.
In retrospect, everyone and their taste buds won that night.
And the same goes for Coca-Cola, says Tallman. “We approach industry events like MUFSO, we want to position ourselves as thought leaders,” she says. “We did that. Shake, Sparkle and Stir allows us to highlight innovative solutions of our products in new drinks that customers will love,” she adds.
Kim Main, Director, Industry and Communications and Megan Tallman, VP, Customer and Trade Communications congratulate SSS winner, Faith Myers.
Big ideas are already stirring for next year's event, when Shake, Sparkle & Stir returns for a third year, ready to take on the main stage.
CLICK HERE FOR ALL THREE SIGNATURE DRINK RECIPES.
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