Bird looking in mirror tablescape at  best Sarasota Cocktails

2024 marked the 6th edition of the craft cocktail competition where local bartenders compete to be the best of the best in each category. ©Dawn Damico

They say that if you build it, they will come. We agree! Especially when the “it” is the best Sarasota cocktails (including Manatee County)and the Sarasota-Manatee Originals Craft Cocktail showdown.

Spring training has come to a close. The players have gone home and all the bases are empty. Still, I headed to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, during a weekend in April. Why? Because I had the good fortune to attend the annual Set The Bar Cocktail Competition.

Sarasota’s field of dreams transformed into a different sort of playing field. Passionate and talented bartenders gathered to stir, shake, mull, strain, infuse, and garnish to the delight of over 500 guests.

2024 marks the 6th edition of the event where local bartenders create innovative craft cocktails. In addition to guests, a panel of judges rates each cocktail to determine best in class.

And what a group of judges! You know that when the judging panel includes a clinical herbalist, the founder of a whiskey society, and a cocktail historian, standards are high.

Then, throw in a wine and spirits store owner, editor, creator of the whisky obsession festival, publisher of a regional dining book, and a bartender to the stars, and you can be certain they are serious about excellence.

Let me tell you about Set the Bar and the best Sarasota cocktails!

Foundation: The Spirits for The Best Sarasota Cocktails

Selection of Pilar rum with two men standing at table  best Sarasota Cocktails

Each category featured popular spirits from distilleries whose individual stories are as inspiring as the craft cocktails their products help create. ©Dawn Damico

This year’s event had 25 bartenders competing for recognition in five categories. Each category featured popular spirits from distilleries whose individual stories are as inspiring as the craft cocktails their products help create.

Papa’s Pilar Rum

Pilar was Ernest Hemingway’s beloved vessel and the nickname for his second wife. Many would say that both allowed him to reach life beyond the shoreline and collect tales, each more epic than the last. It’s with this spirit that Papa’s Pilar is made. Pioneers, pathfinders, and doers, aspiring to live a life that outlives you. That’s the sentiment that moves Hemingway Rum Company to hone their craft and create spirits that inspire stories and legacies for the people who enjoy them.

Location: Hemingway Rum Company,
Papa’s Pilar Distillery
201 Simonton St. Key West, FL 33040

Stateside Urbancraft Vodka

What do bored brothers do to fill the time? Well, for the co-founders of Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, it appears they start a vodka company…in their parent’s basement, with absolutely no idea about how to make vodka, and a legally dubious still that was pieced together from parts found on eBay. What started as a simple conversation in 2013 is now Pennsylvania’s top-selling craft spirit.

Location: 1700 N Hancock Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Street art near the skate park at Bradenton FL Riverwalk

Doc Swinson’s Bourbon was used in Euphemia Haye’s Southern Dandy, served here with Southern hospitality and smiles! ©Dawn Damico

Doc Swinson’s Whiskey 

They admit that they didn’t set out to create a whiskey brand, but they did! According to their website, Doc Swinson’s is at the forefront of America’s whiskey renaissance. They believe that sharing whiskey is about sharing experiences, and even non-whiskey drinkers are impressed with Docs. Check out their Exploratory Cask Scavenger Hunt on the website!

Location: Washington State
Currently no tasting room

Big Storm Distillery-London Dry Gin

From canned cocktails to London Dry Gin, Big Storm Distillery aims to create premium spirits as a tribute to Floridians. Named the Florida Distillery of the Year at the 2022 New York International Spirit Competition, you can sample their craft spirits in the brewery taproom. Big Storm Brewing Company has four taprooms: Clearwater, Odessa, Orlando, and Ybor Tampa.

Location: 12707 49th St N, Clearwater, FL 33762

Dano’s Tequila

It started in Steamboat, Colorado in 2019 when a local celebrity infused 100% agave tequila with fresh pineapples and jalapenos. According to their website, what makes them different is their heritage, authenticity, and innovation. They claim to be the only tequila in the world with a certified fresh fruit infusion. You’ll learn that Dano’s Tequila is distilled at the 2nd oldest tequila distillery in the world, they walk the walk of sustainability, and that it’s led by the female-owned Hacienda under the stewardship of the 4th generation Reyes family. This is a tequila you can feel good about drinking!

Festivities: The Event

Entrance to stadium for  best Sarasota Cocktails event in Sarasota

They say that if you build it, they will come. We agree! Especially when the “it” is the Sarasota-Manatee Originals Craft Cocktail showdown held at the Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. ©Dawn Damico

Now, let’s get to the event!

It’s spring in Florida and the living is easy. Sunny skies, perfect temperatures, and a light breeze welcomed guests to Sarasota’s home of the Florida Grapefruit League and Spring Training in Florida. You may know the Ed Smith Stadium as the home to Baltimore Orioles Spring Training. But on this day, it was all about craft cocktails and local restaurants.

Guests entered the inviting, tree-covered outdoor “Lounge,” where craft beers from Kona Big Wave and Sun King Brewery flowed from a mobile taproom. Children First, this year’s charity partner, welcomed attendees. Silent auction items, including spirits used in the craft cocktails, lined the tables.

woman in hawaiian print shirt pouring beer from tap

The mobile taproom in the “Lounge” served craft beers from Kona Big Wave and Sun King Brewery. ©Dawn Damico

Armed with a punch card, guests mingled and strolled, tasting craft cocktails and sampling food from each booth. You had the opportunity to learn about the drinks and what inspired the mixologist. Many people discovered new restaurants, and remembered some favorites.

We also got a glimpse into what it takes to prepare for the event. I watched one mixologist carefully place the final touches on her samples. When I said that the drink tasted like I was at a spa, her companion said, “She really put her heart into that…”

Every bartender had a story to tell and some stories made me laugh. Like the one about a circus ring leader, too many balloons, and a very serious officer of the law.

young bartender standing at booth  best Sarasota Cocktails with baseball field in background

Guests had the opportunity to talk with the bartenders and learn more about the cocktails…and enjoy great views of the ballpark. ©Dawn Damico

Creativity, Taste, and Fun Mix Up The Best Sarasota Cocktails

The judges were sequestered in another part of the stadium. Behind closed doors, 25 innovative craft cocktails were presented with style and flair to the discerning panel. The competition was fierce…and fancy! So many colors, so much fun!

The event lasted from 4pm – 7pm. I enjoyed meeting the mixologists and learning about the inspiration behind their creations. Their enthusiasm was contagious. And the dedication to their craft by each local restaurant was evident with every sip and bite.

The afternoon concluded with the presentation of the 2024 Set the Bar Craft Competition Winners. We left with a few new favorites, a whole list of local restaurants to enjoy in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

closeup of chicken salad mix on lettuce at  best Sarasota Cocktails event

Spicky Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps from The Drunken Poet had just the right amount of heat.  ©Dawn Damico

The Layout

There were two areas set up to sip, savor, and taste, each with ample seating. A selection of small plate bites included:

  • Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps from The Drunken Poet
  • Cedar Plank Salmon from Mean Dean’s Local Kitchen
  • Parmigiana di Melanzane from Cafe’ Gabbiano,
  • Mini Spanikopita from 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails, and more.

The first section was out near left field. The lush green baseball field provided a perfect backdrop; live music, colorful displays, and lots of bubbles kept it festive!

The second section lined the wide walkway near the field’s entrance. DJ Miketastic played music that kept people on their feet even though there was plenty of seating. The event pace was lively and unhurried. It felt like a Sunday afternoon neighborhood party with 500+ new friends who love craft cocktails and great local food.

Contact: DJ Miketastic: 941-328-8688

Friendly Competition: Eat Like a Local

man with beard and derby hat arranging drinks at  best Sarasota Cocktails event

Bartenders use unique ingredients like the green tea infusion and cucumber-watermelon water in La Nina by Harry’s Continental Kitchen  ©Dawn Damico

Four of last year’s five top winners returned to defend their titles. Even though this was a competition, and we all know that not everyone gets a trophy, what I loved during the event was the palpable sense of friendliness and camaraderie among the bartenders and restaurateurs.

My sense was these were hard-working and passionate people, talented and innovative, with a community spirit that exudes the ideal that all boats float with a rising tide. That makes sense when you learn about the origins of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals.

“As our local, small businesses are able to grow together, they’re empowered to give back in even greater measure. Working toward shared success, the Originals proudly feed the reaped rewards back into their neighborhoods. Independent, locally-owned restaurants nourish their surroundings, strengthening the relationships, health, and economy of their community.” ~Sarasota-Manatee Originals

About Sarasota-Manatee Originals

Members of the Sarasota and Manatee restaurant community came together over 20 years ago to unite independent and locally owned restaurants. They aspired to put this area on the map as a culinary destination.

As any small business owner knows, growing a business has many challenges. This organization focuses on promoting and sustaining local independent area restaurants. In turn, this allows now 60+ member restaurants to deliver quality food, local flair, and memorable tastes to diners living and visiting Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Visit the Sarasota-Manatee Originals website for a current list of member restaurants. I was happy to see how many I’ve already enjoyed and I was reminded of some that are overdue for a return visit! Plus, I now have a fresh list of places to eat. This is a “to do” list I am happy to complete.

You could easily enjoy a new location each week and never be bored. Imagine going through the list to find your next new favorite place to eat. You will eat like a local, and feel good knowing you are supporting local.

Philanthropy: Charity Partner

closeup of a woman arranging drinks on a bamboo tray at  best Sarasota Cocktails event

Members of the Sarasota and Manatee restaurant community came together over 20 years ago to unite independent and locally owned restaurants. They aspired to put this area on the map as a culinary destination.
.  ©Dawn Damico

In 1961, Sarasota Day Nursery had a simple mission: prepare children from low-income families for kindergarten. Their success in changing young lives during those humble beginnings built the foundation for what is now Children First. 

According to the organization’s literature, Children First serves children from birth to age five. This is the time in a child’s life when the brain completes 90% of its growth and serves as the foundation for all future development. Many of us understand how little minds absorb so much, like sponges they say, in their early years. Because of that, the organization’s goal continues to be straight-forward.

However, when Philip Tavill, President and CEO of Children First spoke during the event, he said some things that surprised me. 

“Everyone is born with potential and the opportunity to achieve whatever it is we’re given the opportunity to do. What Children First does is provide opportunity for those children and for those families. We are in the opportunity business and you are making that happen.” 
~Phil Tavill, President and CEO of Children First

About Children First

Children First is a locally based organization serving families with very young children. These families have risk factors such as homelessness, economic or food instabilities, and lack of healthcare. The organization’s efforts begin when children are as young as six weeks and continue for about five years. But they focus on more than the children.

Families have a case manager who helps them set goals, putting them on a path to independence and self-sufficiency. Several times he mentioned the importance of supporting the children within the family unit, whatever that unit looked like.

In fact, one of their reported highlights in 2024 is that they will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of their Families First Institute and Nurturing Dads Initiative – a quarter century dedicated to strengthening parents and caregivers and supporting them as the primary educator, nurturer, and advocate for their children.

And it seems I’m not the only one who was inspired by this focus. In their literature, Karen Solem, an editor, publisher, literary agent and donor is quoted as saying:

“Children First has an immediate and lasting effect, not just on the children, but on the mothers, fathers, and the whole family unit. Children First teaches men what it means to be a father and they teach mothers how to be the best mothers they can be. I don’t know any other organization that does that.”

So, while I went to the event focused on the promise of some fun and beautiful drinks mixed up by creative mixologists, I feel as if I left with so much more.

Learning about this local charitable organization who partnered with Sarasota-Manatee Originals for the Set the Bar Cocktail Competition, was like sugar on the rim of the finest cocktail.

Favorites: 2024 Winners & Competitors

row of people standing in a row holding awards from  best Sarasota Cocktails event

Even though this was a competition, and we all know that not everyone gets a trophy, what I loved during the event was the palpable sense of friendliness and camaraderie among the bartenders and restaurateurs. ©Dawn Damico

Best Tablescape, judged by Clive Daniel Home

Fins at Sharky’s

Tequila Category: Best Sarasota Cocktails

*Restaurants located in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
Restaurant: Jack Dusty (retains title!)
Mixologist: Heidi Finley and Gabriela Abaroa
Drink: Dream State
Ingredients: Black Sesame Infused Dano’s Tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, Lillet Blanc, Citrus Elixir, Poblano Agave, Crystal Clear Rose Ice, Black Sesame Paint, Cocktail Caviar

Other Tequila Craft Cocktails Enjoyed at the Event:

Restaurant: Harry’s Continental Kitchens
Mixologist: Geoff Pinter
Drink: La Niña
Ingredients: Dano’s Dangerous Tequila, Green Tea Infusion, Chartreuse, Cucumber-Watermelon Water, Aperol, Lime

Restaurant: Sage
Mixologist: Patrick Dawson
Drink: Agua Vera
Ingredients: Dano’s Tequila, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, Agave Syrup, Lime Juice, Clarified Milk Punch, Edible Marigold Flower Garnish

Restaurant: El Melvin Cocina Mexicana
Mixologist: Andrea Kahn
Drink: Mi Carazon Fresca
Ingredients: Cucumber-Infused Dano’s Tequila, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Fresh Lime Juice, Homemade Rosemary Syrup, Grapefruit Soda

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

Pops Sunset Grill took top honors in the Whiskey category with their Bourbon Blue Bird…you had me at blueberry!  ©Dawn Damico

Whiskey Category: Best Sarasota Cocktails

*Restaurants located in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
Restaurant: Pop’s Sunset Grill
Mixologist: Emily McCormick and Travis Smith
Drink: Bourbon Blue Bird
Ingredients: Blueberry-Infused Doc Swinson’s Bourbon, Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, Mint, Fresh Lemon, Club Soda, Gold Leaf, Blueberry and Mint Garnish

Other Whiskey Craft Cocktails Enjoyed at the Event:

Restaurant: Café Gabbiano
Mixologist: Hazel Juco
Drink: Paper Plane Italiano
Ingredients: Doc Swinson’s Session Bourbon, Aperol, Amaron Nonino Smoked Homemade Limoncello, Fresh Lemon Juice

Restaurant: Euphemia Haye
Mixologist: Sam Lastinger
Drink: Southern Dandy
Ingredients: Doc Swinson’s Bourbon, House-made Burnt Orange Marmalade, Aperol, Basil-Infused Simple Syrup, Orange Bitters, Candied Orange and Basil Garnish

Restaurant: Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub
Mixologist: Vincent R. D’Alessandro III
Drink: Doc Swinson’s Blackberry Cooler
Ingredients: Doc Swinson’s Session Blend Straight Bourbon, House-made Blackberry Syrup, Fresh Lime Juice, Organic Agave, Sugar Rim

Restaurant: The Chateau Sarasota
Mixologist: Anna Maria | Abbie Morgan
Drink: Sarasota Sunset
Ingredients: Peach-Infused Doc Swinson’s Session Blend, Pineapple-Black Pepper Simple Syrup, Orange Juice, Spicy Salt Rim, Dehydrated Pineapple and Candied Peach Garnish

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

The display for Jack Dusty, winner of the tequila category, had a fun waterfall display.  ©Dawn Damico

Gin Category: Best Sarasota Cocktails

*Restaurants located in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
Restaurant: Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse
Mixologist: Julie Asher
Drink: The Myakka Gold
Ingredients: Local Temple Orange and Meyer Lemon-Infused Big Storm Gin, Meyer Lemon Juice, Lavender-Infused Saw Palmetto Honey, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon Powder

Other Gin Craft Cocktails Enjoyed at the Event:

Restaurant: Fins at Sharky’s
Mixologist: Caroline Follos
Drink: 3 Ring Circus
Ingredients: Big Storm Gin, Solerno, Citrus Juices, Sugar, Cappelletti Aperitivo, Egg Whites

Restaurant: Michael’s On East
Mixologist: Lara Baykent
Drink: Rose Alchemist
Ingredients: Big Storm Gin, Combier Rose Liqueur, Homemade Rose Water Syrup, Egg Whites, Lime Juice, Dehydrated Rose Petal Garnish

Restaurant: JPAN
Mixologist: Max Wheeler
Drink: Saint Tsuki
Ingredients: Fermented Pear-Infused Big Storm Gin, Nigori, Cucumber, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, St. Germain, Cucumber Horn Garnish

Restaurant: The Ringling Grillroom
Mixologist: Erik Lowry
Drink: Bayshore
Ingredients: Big Storm Gin, Cranberry, Ginger Beer, Rosemary Syrup

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

Friendly smiles were served with each taster! The cucumber-infused Dano’s Tequila used in El Melvin’s Mi Carazon Fresca made a refreshing drink. ©Dawn Damico

Rum Category: Best Sarasota Cocktails

*Restaurants located in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
Restaurant: The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar
Mixologist: Hunter Peterson
Drink: Papas Pineapple Perfection
Ingredients: Pineapple-Brown Sugar Shrub, Fresh Lemon Sour, Aperol, Papas Pilar Blonde, Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Other Rum Craft Cocktails Enjoyed at the Event:

Restaurant: Miguel’s
Mixologist: Dan Garcia
Drink: The Fancy Bird
Ingredients: Papa’s Pilar Rum, Fresh Watermelon Juice, Lemongrass Simple Syrup, Fresh Lime Juice, Campari, Pineapple Garnish

Restaurant: Mean Deans Local Kitchen
Mixologist: Michele Angell
Drink: Toasted Coconut Key Lime Martini
Ingredients: Madagascar Vanilla Bean, All-Spice, Cinnamon and Toasted Coconut-Infused Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum, Cream of Coconut, Key Lime Juice, Bitters, Toasted Coconut Rim, Key Lime Garnish

Restaurant: Beach House Waterfront Restaurant
Mixologist: Amy Hastings
Drink: Admiral 907
Ingredients: Chargrilled Pineapple-Infused Papa’s Pilar Rum, Orgeat, Lemon Juice, Bitters, Grapefruit Zest and Salt Half-Rim, Lemon Peel Garnish

Restaurant: Chaz 51 Steakhouse
Mixologist: Katie Graham-Phillips
Drink: Havana’s Kiss
Ingredients: A nod to Mr. Hemingway: Papa’s Pilar Rum, Coconut Water, Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Ginger Demi, Caramelized Pineapple Slices and Fresh Ginger Garnish

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

Mean Dean’s used Toasted Coconut-infused Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum, Madagascar vanilla bean, all-spice and cinnamon to deliver dessert in a glass with their Key Lime Martini.  ©Dawn Damico

Vodka Category: Best Sarasota Cocktails

*Restaurants located in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
Restaurant: Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi(retains title!)
Mixologist: Jacob Lesitsky
Drink: Strawberry Yuzu Lemondrop
Ingredients: Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, Yuzu, House-Made Strawberry Syrup, Strawberry Glitter Garnish

Other Vodka Craft Cocktails Enjoyed at the Event:

Restaurant: Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood.
Mixologist: Denise Nerland
Drink: Let’s Go Party
Ingredients: Stateside Vodka, St-Germain Liqueur, Strawberry-Basil Simple Syrup, Watermelon Juice Blend, Cava

Restaurant: Mi Pueblo el Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina
Mixologist: Cristal Hernandez
Drink: Lychee Luau
Ingredients: Lychee Liqueur, Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, Fresh Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Purée, Fresh Mint

Restaurant: Sandbar Seafood & Spirits
Mixologist: Madison Connor & Brian Dewey
Drink: Bloody Betty
Ingredients: Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, Olive Juice, Soda Water, Ginger Beer, Gamble Creek Farms Beet Juice, Tajin Rim, Gamble Creek Farms Pickled Vegetables Garnish

Restaurant: KOJO
Mixologist: Emma Getchell
Drink: Good Day Sunshine
Ingredients: Botanicals-Infused Stateside Vodka, Strawberry Cream of Coconut, Lemon, Italian Bitter Aperitif, Matcha Powder, Freeze-Dried Strawberries

People’s Choice-Best Cocktail

Restaurant: Kolucan (entered in the Tequila Category)
Mixologist: Angel Nazario
Drink: Mullix
Ingredients: Smoked Tamarind Syrup, Dano’s Tequila, Spicy Lime Juice, Burnt Tortilla Rim, Dehydrated Jalapeños Garnish

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

The judges enjoyed a great craft cocktail presentation. Some of the glassware, designs, and garnishes were pretty amazing!  ©Dawn Damico

What I Loved, Would I Change/Add

This was my first year at the event, so I cannot compare to the past competitions. Entry was smooth and overall, people were enjoying themselves. I thought the venue worked well, and noticed there was more room to add additional booths as the event continues to grow. You couldn’t beat the Florida weather, people were friendly, and the size of the event was not overwhelming so I believe it maintained an intimate feel.

Unless I missed it, it would be fun to display the finished craft cocktails in all their glory so guests could see the same presentation the judges saw. Some of the glassware, designs, and garnishes were pretty amazing. I guess I’ll just have to visit each restaurant for a repeat performance! Ahhh…the sacrifices a writer makes.

For Fun: Craft Cocktail Lingo

the Patio restaurant near pier 22

Craft cocktail culture has its own unique lexicon and creativity is encouraged. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event and visit the Sarasota-Manatee Originals member restaurants for even more great local tastes.  ©Dawn Damico

In addition to the passion each mixologist brings to their trade, craft cocktail culture has its own unique lexicon. Here are some phrases and terms commonly used in the craft cocktail industry:

Mixologist: A bartender who specializes in creating and mixing cocktails, often with a focus on creativity and craftsmanship.

Craft Cocktail: A cocktail made with high-quality, often artisanal, ingredients and careful attention to detail in mixing and presentation.

Bar Spoon: A long-handled spoon used for stirring cocktails in a mixing glass or shaker.

Muddling: The process of gently crushing or bruising ingredients, such as fruits, herbs, or sugar, in the bottom of a glass or shaker to release their flavors and juices..

Muddling: The process of gently crushing or bruising ingredients, such as fruits, herbs, or sugar, in the bottom of a glass or shaker to release their flavors and juices..

Infusion: The process of flavoring a spirit by steeping it with fruits, herbs, spices, or other ingredients over time.

Shaken, not stirred: A phrase famously associated with James Bond, referring to the method of mixing a cocktail by vigorously shaking it with ice rather than stirring it.

Double strain: The process of straining a cocktail through a fine mesh strainer in addition to a regular strainer to remove small ice chips, fruit pulp, or other solids.

Aperitif: A pre-dinner drink intended to stimulate the appetite.

Digestif: A post-dinner drink intended to aid digestion.

Neat: A term used to describe a spirit served without any ice or mixers, typically in a glass at room temperature.

Rocks: A term used to indicate a spirit served over ice cubes in a glass.

Flamed: The process of expressing citrus oils over a cocktail and igniting them for a brief burst of flame, adding aroma and flavor.

Garnish: Decorative elements added to a cocktail for visual appeal and/or flavor enhancement, such as citrus twists, fruit slices, or herbs.

Bitters: Concentrated, aromatic flavorings made from herbs, spices, and botanicals used to add complexity and depth to cocktails.

Tincture: A highly concentrated solution of alcohol infused with herbs, spices, or other flavorings, often used in small amounts to add specific flavors to cocktails.

Barrel-aged: Refers to cocktails or cocktail ingredients that have been aged in wooden barrels, often imparting unique flavors and characteristics.

Mise en place: French for “everything in its place,” referring to the practice of preparing and organizing all ingredients and tools before starting to make cocktails.

Shrubs: Fruit-infused vinegars used as cocktail mixers to add acidity and complexity.

Rinse: The process of coating the inside of a glass with a small amount of a spirit, such as absinthe or vermouth, to add flavor to the finished cocktail.

Dry shake: The process of shaking ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice before adding ice and shaking again, typically used when incorporating egg whites for frothiness.

Build: Pouring ingredients directly into a glass rather than shaking or stirring them first.

Fat Washing: Infusing a spirit with rendered fat or oils from nuts, meats, etc to add richness.

Invert: To allow a spirit to drain upside down out of a glass rimmed with salt/sugar.

Batched: Pre-mixing multiple portions of a cocktail rather than making them individually.

Carbonated/Housemade Soda: Using freshly made carbonated juice/syrup mixtures instead of bottled soda.

Spherification: Using molecular techniques to create liquid spheres that burst in the mouth.

These terms capture just a glimpse of the rich vocabulary and techniques found in the craft cocktail world!


Thank you Sarasota-Manatee Originals for providing tickets to the event. As always, the opinions in the article are my own!