It’s possible watching others drink might be like dancing to architecture, but still, think of everything you can learn by being part of the audience for The Independent’s Second Sizzling Summer Cocktail Contest, which is the libation creation portion of our BBQ contest. If you want to watch the potable potions go down — and maybe even sample some of the winners afterward — it will happen Thursday, June 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Harry’s Plaza Café (3313 State Street). The afternoon showdown is being sponsored by RND Vodka (RNDVodka.com) and Agave Avenue/Carreta de Oro Tequila (AgaveAvenue.com).
This year’s pro-am features six mixologists, two returning for vengeance after not quite winning last year, and one trying her hand at drinks after bringing home the trophy for chili beans that won last year’s BBQ amateur side dish category. The judges feature last year’s winner Mandy Chinn (nee Huffaker) from Sly’s in Carpinteria, three Indy writers (Matt Kettmann, Ethan Stewart, and yours truly), Harry’s manager Kevin Hebert, and Kathryn Graham from C’est Cheese. Once again, dryly witty Travis Mañach will host the evening.
And the contestants and drinks are:
Brendan Bidwell, Caprese Martini
Liana Campos, Catas Cocktail
Sonny Chehl, Jen’s Pecks
Nick Faccuito, Wine Cask/Intermezzo, The Gold Room Whiskey Sour
Brian McAdams, Skinny Margarita
Aaron Piatkowski, Ty Lounge at the Four Seasons Biltmore, Southern Breeze
For more info on the Summer BBQ Contest, see independent.com/bbq. And don’t forget the food showdown portion of the contest, which happens on Wednesday, June 15, at Whole Foods.