Last night, MAUIWatch had the privilege of attending “The Ultimate Ocean Cocktail Showdown!” Six finalists from hundreds of entries faced off with their recipes to see who would win the title of Ultimate OCEAN cocktail! Each finalist was paired with a non-profit to help raise awareness of their organization.
The event raised $11,460 which will be donated to the 6 charities involved: Hui O Wa’a Kaulua, Women Helping Women, Make-A-Wish Hawaii, Grow Some Good, Imua Family Services, and Whale Trust Maui.
The 6 Ocean cocktail finalists were also paired with a celebrity judge to battle out the “Best Chef Creation” and “Best Food and Cocktail Pairing!’
My personal favorite pairing was Daniel Vincent’s Cucumber Cooler and Lee Ann Wong’s (Koko Head Cafe in Kaimuki, Oahu) Ni’ihau Lamb Laab! Lamb has a distinct flavor and the pairing of a refreshing cucumber drink with it, was outstanding! In fact, my FAVORITE dish of the night- was also the Lamb. Soo good!!
Guess what?! They actually WON the category of “Best Food and Cocktail Pairing!”. Congratulations to them!
Best dish award went to Hank Adaniya of Hank’s Haute Dog’s Kaka’ako. His entry, Hank’s Lobster Sausage, was nothing short of a party in your mouth. A lobster sausage, sauteed in clarified butter (wait, it gets better), garnished with Relish Garlic Aioli, Lettuce, Tomato and Takuan Radish.
MY favorite drink was: Victor Mendoza’s (Lahaina, Maui), Napili Tini. Made with fresh watermelon, liliko’i, coconut water, soda water, and Ocean Vodka. The garnish of this drink was Roasted Coconut. Personally, I am not a fan of sugary drinks- and this drink was more my style. They had me at liliko’i. You could taste the freshness of the various fruits and I would be lying if I said I did not go back for more.. and more… and more.
The winning recipe went to Ross Steidel of Lahaina, Hawaii. His drink titled “Poi Dog” was easily a crowd favorite. His winning recipe: Rim half a collins glass with salt and pepper. In a mixing tin, combine: 1 1/2 oz of Ocean vodka, 3/4 oz Thai basil and Black peppercorn syrup, 3/4 oz Yuzu Citrus, 2 1/2 oz of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice- shake for 10 seconds. Strain over fresh ice into Collins glass. Garnish with a sprig of Italian basil.
The only mixologist we were able to take a picture with was Steidel. He was such a good sport and let us “touch” his awesome ‘stache. If you attended, you know how awesome that ‘stache looked. Congratulations, Ross Steidel!
All in all, this was a fabulous event put on by the Sheraton and OCEAN vodka. A fun event to help raise awareness for various non-profit organizations! How could you go wrong? I highly recommend going next year!