The Things They Poured: Cocktail Wars rise again at the Sinclair

GOB_CocktailWars_0213
Photos by Natasha Moustache

Bartenders are accustomed to dealing with busy crowds, and the best of them are capable of serving labor-intensive cocktails with both speed and elan. But when you take bartenders out of their environment and pit them against one another in competition, suddenly their job seems less of a craft and more of a fight to the death — and that’s before we’ve even gotten to the twist of Cocktail Wars.

The recurring bartending contest has been on hiatus for over a year. It was a staple at the now defunct Woodward at the Ames Hotel, where it began about five years ago as the brainchild of William Codman and Paul Monahan. This Sunday, it returns for one night only at the Sinclair.

“We came up with the idea because I had done so many cocktail competitions, and some of them were stale and stuffy,” Codman, the Master of Whisky for Diageo Boston explained. Monahan is now national brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry rum.

By Natasha Moustache
By Natasha Moustache

“I wanted to do one by bartenders, for bartenders, but also something more challenging than just batching up a cocktail ahead of time.” In contests for which you prepare ahead of time there’s room for outside help from colleagues, he explains. “Cocktail Wars is 100 percent you. You come up with something on the fly, and it challenges the different layers of what bartenders can do.”

The way it works is four bartenders – Crystal Kelley (Brick and Mortar), Will Tomlinson (Tavern Road), Jason Cool (Citizen Public House) and Ray Tremblay (Newtowne Grille), in this case – are set up with a full compliment of spirits, ingredients and tools. Then, as in cooking competitions like “Iron Chef,” they’re presented with a mystery spirit and ingredient. They have 20 minutes to design a recipe that tastes and looks good — and have to justify it all to a panel of judges (including this writer, which, considering I have only vague memories of the last time I judged this contest, may or may not be a great idea).

By Natasha Moustache
By Natasha Moustache

I don’t even remember the above photo being taken, to be honest.

Earlier in the evening, guests will get to sample a signature cocktail from each of the contestants, and vote for their favorite, using tokens.

Sounds straightforward, right? Wrong. Creating a cocktail on the spot is easier said than done when things like kiwi, avocado and chocolate bars, and lesser-used cordials like Zwack, Agavero or Luxardo Amaretto are sprung on you at the last second.

“We usually make it things that don’t want to go together,” Codman says. “It’s all well and good to be behind your bar having fun, but once you get in the arena where it’s a competition and it’s timed, it becomes very nervous.”

If you go

Sunday, 9 p.m.
The Sinclair
52 Church St. Cambridge
617.547.5200
sinclaircambridge.com

Photos by Natasha Moustache



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…