Day 10 of my Vancouver 2010 Olympic experience involved getting up early and heading to Yaletown to drink some gin ahead of the big game. Over the last year or so I’ve received many requests to judge competitions, from chocolate recipes to essay contests and most of all, mixology.
Yesterday George in Yaletown hosted the first-ever Mixlympics, an international bar-tending competition featuring Martin Miller’s Gin. Contestants needed to use the gin and one of five block box items in their drinks. With 10 minutes to prepare 4 drinks for the judges, it was a heated and frenzied battle, but there were good spirits all around.
Two competitors hit the bar at a time, walking out to their own theme music and sporting their nation’s flag. Once they were in place, the “black box” ingredients were revealed. They received bonus marks for incorporating any of these items in their drinks.
Black Box Items
One sip from each as I judged tasty and creative concoctions. Every now and then we were also given some food samples from the restaurant – from scallops and bacon-wrapped sablefish to potato skins stuffed with pulled pork.
In the end, hometown favourite Mark Brand took home the gold medal. Not only was his drink creative and delicious, he used two of the black box ingredients and even made bitters on the fly. For even more bonus points, he served his drink in a Calgary ’88 Olympics glass from Petro Canada.
It was a great international competition that I see picking up steam and potentially being a hit in future Olympic cities. At the end of the day though, we took home a gold and a real silver thanks to Kristina Groves’ performance in long track speedskating.
Medal Count for Canada on Day 10 – February 21, 2010
View full medal count by country