To be named the “official” drink of Austin is quite a feat in a city never lacking in the search for adventurous cocktails. But that didn’t stop the Austin Food & Wine Alliance from hosting the 13th Annual Official Drink of Austin contest at the AT&T Conference Center.
Presented by Tipsy Texan, the contest featured bar teams from drink.well, Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Midnight Cowboy, QUI, and Whisler’s. Judging was done by both the attendees, who voted for audience favorite, and a blue-ribbon panel of judges.
The evening was all about beverages, but the food on hand was nothing to dismiss. The fine chefs behind Carillon, Frank, Finn & Porter, Peached Tortilla, Swift’s Attic, TRACE, TRIO (and others) pulled out all the stops to keep the teeming masses satisfied. We tasted a blue cheese panna cotta that completely blew our mind and has us still thinking about it nearly a week after the fact.
When the dust settled at the end of a hazy evening, the bar team from QUI stood victorious with their Tepache, a Collins on the rocks. A true tribute to Texas, the Tepache is made with Balcones Rumble, local honey and Chef Paul Qui’s homemade tepache — a lightly fermented pineapple & spice water. I can personally attest that this drink will now be a staple of my spring/summer spirits endeavors.
Huge congratulations to the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, along with the Tipsy Texan team of David Alan & Joe Eifler, for taking this event to a whole other level. What had all but petered out a few years ago has been reborn into a festive and competitive evening worthy of being called The Official Drink of Austin.
*Photos courtesy of Max Photography