When CultureMap put six mixologists up to the challenge of creating H-Town's best vodka concoction, the friendly competition brimmed with herbs, spices and apple pie. Yes, even a riff on apple pie as the creative juices flowed at "Crafted," a spirited cocktail event that rocked Mr. Peeples.
Drink tickets in hand, revelers lined up throughout the second-floor party room to sample the lively martini mixes based on RWB Vodka. The Houston-based vodka company launched last September with production in Idaho. Robert Federowicz, president of the Aristocrat Group which owns RWB, was on hand to help with the judging and pump his brand.
"After I moved to the U.S. (from Poland), at some point it became apparent that there was something missing from the vodka market in the U.S. — an original American vodka that could compete on the international market with the best guys out there," he said. "By creating RWB, which stands for red, white and blue, I think we were successful with that."
With disco music churning and waiters spinning through with trays of appetizers from Mr. Peeples, the evening pulsated on.
The mixologists had no problems with that claim to vodka fame. Shaking and stirring were Honeymoon's Brittany Austin, 1919 Wine & Mixology's David Cedeno, Liberty Kitchen's JoJo Martinez, El Big Bad's Luis Villegas, Springbok's Michael McLemore and Triniti's Sheridan Fay. It was Fay who added the apple pie notes to her "Stifler" (for the character in American Pie) dessert cocktail, a mix of RWB, egg white, Baked Apple liqueur, heavy cream and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. The glass garnish was a mix of brown sugar, flower and egg.
In the end it was Villegas' "Kiss from a Rosemary" that took top honors. His concoction of RWB, fresh lemon and lime juice and agave nectar topped off with a foam of cucumber water, ginger beer and soda won the judge's approval. Perhaps it was the sprig of fresh rosemary that was the winning touch. Joining Federowicz in judging the cocktails were the dreamy Michael Chabala and CultureMap's Tod Eason.
With disco music churning and waiters spinning through with trays of appetizers from Mr. Peeples, the evening pulsated on, thanks in no small part to the action of mixologist Martinez, who juggled oranges, danced while shaking her cocktails and calling out the name, "Leilani," so named for the race car driver Leilani Munter.
Eric Cohen and Leah Arlen were among the partygoers who grooved on the swell drinks, both vowing to hit El Big Bad and Springbok. Others on the scene included Janessa Young, Hilary Peterson, Thomas Freeman, Carmen Martinez, Lynn Norris, Mitch Toom, Mari-Ann Montoya and Salice Sanders.
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