Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Metaxa Cocktails!

Earlier this month, we partnered with Metaxa for an online invitation-only cocktail competition to find the best cocktail using Metaxa, a Greek spirit that combines brandy and wine made from three types of Greek grape, which is then blended with an aged Muscat wine, aged in oak casks, and infused with rose petals and a secret blend of herbs.

The turnaround time for the submissions was short, about two weeks, so there was plenty of pressure, but we were blown away by the creativity of the entries, and it's always fun to see what bartenders can do with ingredients they may not regularly use. Recipes could use either the Metaxa 5-Star (aged for five years) or the 7-Star (aged for seven years), and the recipes were judged on use of Metaxa, flavor, creativity, appearance and process.

It was a tough decision, but after narrowing the field and testing the recipes, first place went to Jonathan Pogash of the World Bar in New York City, whose Aegean Fizz was not only beautiful, but also nuanced and balanced with a lovely texture and a marriage of spicy and fruity flavors that riffed perfectly off the Metaxa. "The inspiration came from the froth and freshness of the Aegean Sea, and the full-bodied cinnamon notes in Metaxa 7-star," says Jonathan. "I played up those notes in Metaxa 7-star by adding a homemade cinnamon bark syrup and countered that sweet and spice with fresh blood orange juice. The egg white adds a nice texture and froths the drink up, reminding me of the Aegean Sea crashing against the rocky shores of the Greek Islands."

Jonathan wins a trip for two to either Greece (including Athens and Mykonos) or to this year's Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. There were also four runners up who all win American Express gift cards.

Lara Creasy, JCT Kitchen and Bar, Atlanta
Recipe: A Rose by Any Other Name

Leah Houghtaling, Felicia's Atomic Lounge, Ithaca, NY
Recipe: Greek Awake

Charles Joly, The Drawing Room, Chicago
Recipe: Three Times the Vine

Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard, Boston
Recipe: Helena Sour

Congrats to all of the winners—we loved seeing so much thought and creativity put into these recipes. Hopefully you'll be seeing these cocktails in the near future on bar menus near you!