Nirvana Food and Wine Festival - Torch Tiki Takedown
On Thursday night, Nirvana, a brand-new culinary festival, kicked off at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa with a tiki cocktail competition. This special event was hosted by Arizona's beverage master Jason Asher of Barter & Shake, Counter Intuitive and UnderTow, and Food Network star Chef Robert Irvine, who also delighted the guests with his tropical braised short rib.
Jason's team at UnderTow presented their Sakura with cherry-infused Hennessy cognac, tawny port, Bitter Truth liqueur, pineapple, grapefruit, vanilla and orgeat.
Six of Arizona's talented bartenders greeted guests with their exclusive tiki cocktails as they vied for a chance to come home with a winning title. Celebrity judges included two of Arizona's cocktail experts, with whom I've had the honor to co-judge in past competitions: Kim Haasarud and Travis Nass.
Guests gathered around the pool to sample topical tipples and cast their votes.
Congratulations to Maxton Kennedy, representing The Woodshed, who was chosen by the judges as the winner!
Clint Spotleson of Second Story Liquor Bar took home the People's Choice for his Coconut & Chill made with butter fat-washed Zapara's rum, Jack Daniel's whiskey, carrot juice, cream of coconut, lime, pineapple syrup, cinnamon syrup and a ground cinnamon garnish.
Delicious Polynesian-inspired bites were also enjoyed by the hungry crowd.
On a beautiful spring evening, the Sanctuary Camelback Resort threw a fantastic tropical celebration to usher in the inaugural Nirvana Food and Wine festival. Cheers and congratulations to all of Arizona's gifted libation luminaries that competed.
Look for Nirvana Food and Wine Festival to return April 19-22, 2018.
I received a complimentary media pass.