The ever-expanding lineup for the upcoming Cornucopia food and wine festival will include a glimpse into the world of competitive bartending.
On the first day of the event (Nov. 7) Alta Bistro is hosting the first cocktail competition as part of Cornucopia at the Whistler Conference Centre from 1 to 4 p.m.
Eight professional bartenders from Whistler and Vancouver will compete against each other to create the best drink of the night in conjunction with the first night of the Whistler Chef’s Challenge presented by Viking.
“We have never really had a cocktail competition before, which is why we are very excited by this one,” said Jess Smith, the communications manager at Watermark, promoters of the Cornucopia Festival. “Cocktails really have a huge importance in the food and beverage industry and this shows we are supporting that side of it and supporting the locals that are involved with it.
“We want to draw more attention to not just Whistler and food, but we have a huge cocktail culture here.”
Alta Bistro owner Edward Dangerfield is organizing the libation tournament and hand picking those that will be competing in the event.
He said the idea is to showcase the talents of professional bartenders, who are earnest about their craft.
“(Bartending) is not something to keep them in Whistler skiing — they take it seriously,” he said, adding they can range from geeky to knowledgeable and pay attention to the nuances of each drink.
Dangerfield said the five judges will be looking for appearance, taste, balance and integrity of flavours as well as staying true to the product. There will be one key product, the liquor the cocktail must be based on, which is still to be determined along with the prize packages.
“It is always impressive what the guys come up with they are creative and have creative drinks,” he said.
Each bartender will have five minutes to set up on stage, five to prepare their drinks and five to tear down. While the event is free, there is no tasting of the cocktails available due to liquor licensing restrictions.
However, hot on the heels of the competition is a five-course dinner at Alta Bistro, The Muddle, which features the bartenders from the competition for $50 at 7 p.m. The winner of the competition will be announced at the dinner.
Dangerfield said the competition will be a great glimpse into the world of competitive bartending and the evening afterwards “is going to be a blast as well.”
“Our whole aim with this was to start growing Cornucopia back from the weekend with food and drink,” he said. “We are hoping that it will be come a 10-day event.”
Go to www.whistlercornucopia.com for more information or to purchase tickets to events.