On Wednesday night, as part of Dish, Westword's annual tribute to Denver's dining scene, seven local cocktologists participated in a mixology battle judged by yours truly, Westword Drink of the Week scribe Nancy Levine, and Ian Grzybowski, the district manager for Coca-Cola North America.
The competition, emceed by Sean Kenyon, the former bar manager of Steuben's, was all about pouring Svedka vodka and crafting cocktails, using less than five ingredients, that would make the judges sloshed and happy. And, boy, did they ever. We sipped -- and sometimes guzzled -- everything from a cocktail made with Frangelica, Kahlua and raspberry vodka to one concocted with champagne, fresh dill and mint-infused simple syrup.
But there was one cocktail that really made our heads spin.
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Alexandra Parks, the bar mistress of Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria, 410 East Seventh Avenue, hauled out the liquid nitrogen for her Cherry Limeade Fizz, which also included housemade lime cello, fresh lime juice, egg whites and housemade cherry foam.
And because it was far and away the most creative -- and best-tasting -- cocktail that we judged, Parks walked away the winner, with $350 in her pocket and two tickets to a Denver Nuggets game. Josh Gillette, from Marlowe's, who placed second, scored $150 in cash and two tickets to an Colorado Avalanche game, and Noah Heaney, the bar manager of Argyll, came in third, winning $75 and a $100 gift certificate to Tony's Market. And since there's a Tony's directly across the street from the Westword office, and that Tony's serves beer and wine, we're hoping that Heaney will use his gift certificate to get us drunk.