Monday, March 5, 2012

Accidental Bartenders Compete!

The day started like the usual food trip weekend, with Lostboy and WanderingWonder meeting me for lunch.  Over the course of the meal, the two told me of the food event they were going to.  Wanderlust that I am, I agreed to go with, and probably sample some more food featured at the event.  Using a bloggers’ pass, we got in without a hitch and without paying the walk-in registration fee.  In there we met other blogger friends of Lostboy.

Being a food and beverage expo, I was expecting various foods from all over and me sampling everything I might get my hands on.  It later became evident that the Horeca-partnered event featured not food, but mostly food service equipment.  There were foodstuffs there as well, but mostly the kind that you have to shell out money for.  Still, it was fun sampling the food produced by the various equipment innovations.

Having met up with other bloggers, we were quite a handful, asking booth after booth about their wares, when ChaSy, the friendly lady from our group was approached by the organizer and was asked, whether we were her students, and whether we would please like to join their cocktail mixing contest.  ChaSy, being game and all, succeeded in persuading WanderingWonder and I to join; after all, it would be fun to join a contest, rather than just covering it.

The mechanics are as follows:  we would mix three drinks, a Pre-dinner cocktail, an After-dinner cocktail, and a Shot of the Night, to be served to the three judges, and prepared within fifteen minutes.  The cocktails should also incorporate the spirits provided for by the sponsor.  We get to use Tanduay products on hand, including their Rum and Boracay variants.

The catch, though, is that we have to provide for our own ingredients.  And glasses.  And cocktail shakers. And garnishes.  And we have two hours before the competition starts.

I enjoy watching Top Chef and the other cooking reality shows whenever I get the urge to watch TV.  I especially enjoy those episodes where they are given a theme and have to come up with a dish in a limited time.  Now I know how they feel.  Like Amazing Race contestants, Lostboy, WanderingWander and I circled the booths buying ingredients for our cocktails, and borrowing utensils, where possible.  We were advised that we will be able to borrow glasses and shakers from the other contestants, which was good.

We realized, though, that the other contestants are HRM students who had ample time to prepare, partake, and perfect their drinks and practice their performance, which was bad.  For us.

It was also at this time that we realized that what we signed up for was a cocktail AND FLARING competition.  Immediately, my mind flashed back to the various TGI Friday’s Bar Competitions I’ve attended, and realized that I will never have the hand-eye coordination to fake this.

Still, the competition went on and we were wowed by the presentation and skill of the other contestants as they created and served one drink after the other.  After their drinks were presented, judged, and put away, I proceeded to drink a couple, or six, of their cocktails.  In order to borrow the glasses, of course; I’m not an alcoholic, after all.

Our pair was called and we had to prepare our drinks.  Talk about going through the motions!  Not wanting to make further fools of ourselves, we had to forgo the flaring part.

We did not win, of course.  But with just three pairs of contestants, they had no choice but to award us third place, which I guess is recompense for our troubles, if not our shame.

2nd Place: Datamex

1st Place: Lyceum University

I’ve made some realizations after this harrowing experience: firstly, to read the fine print before signing on to anything.  The next time, it may not just be our dignity that is at stake.

Secondly, though in contrast to the first: Spontaneity is fun!  And sometimes, there are freebies.

Thirdly: I can still be creative enough when pressured, but without ample resources, though fit for the purpose, the results may not be pretty.

Finally, and most importantly:  I can still pass myself off as a college student.  Ha!  Beat that!

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