Only in Montreal will you see a packed house with over 500 young professionals on a Monday night indulging in 16 cocktail competing stations and sample tasting an array of drinks (non-virgin, of course), all while still making it to work on time the very next day.
Last October, the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal was host to 25 competitors, all of whom were allotted 25 minutes and endless possibilities to create their most original cocktail using ingredients only found at the famous Market. From this group, only 16 finalists were chosen by the selected jury to compete at the fourth edition of “MadeWithLove” Montreal, which was held at Marché Bonsecours this past Monday.
The place was buzzing with an enthusiastic crowd, great beats and the top mixologists from our city and beyond. Let’s break down the selected Kings and Queens of the Montreal’s cocktail world in no particular order: Andrew Whibley: Le Bremner, Dan Lima: M:BRGR, Drahos Chytry: Burgundy Lion, Graham Warner: Cafe Sardine, Jonathan Homier: Kronik Bar Services, Maxime Boivin: Barroco, Sidonie Rodman: Maison Boulud, Tony Galdes: Bartender One, Chris Natale: Absolut Bartending, David Ginesta: Le Jockey, Gabrielle F.Panaccio: Le Lab, Jane Ross-Opazo: L’Orignal, Lawrence Picard: Santos, Rachel Osborne: Philemon, Simon Charrette: Sim’s Irish Pub, and Yannick Feyfant: Ateliers et Saveurs.
The competition was interactive; each guest received a dog tag upon entering the space and was allowed to hang it around the neck of their winning master drink architect, making it a very social and engaging experience. We literally made a pit stop at every station to give every masterful mix a chance. Needless to say, by the time we reached the 10th station, things were starting to look a bit more colourful – we have to respectfully thank our dear friends tequila, vodka, gin and the rest of the bunch for that.
We were so impressed with the effort and uniqueness of each drink we had that it was truly a daunting task choosing just one, and we will keep that choice to ourselves. We must, however, give a very notable mention to Jonathan Homier from Kronik Bar Services, who made us feel like we were 18 years old at a Mexican fiesta in Cancun. Let us splash him all over with some type of hot sauce looking liquid… talk about arrrrrrrrrriba!
Let’s get down to the focus of the night: the champions! There were two winners chosen, one for Jury’s Choice and one for the Public’s Choice, hence the dog tags. The winner of the Jury’s choice was judged on originality, presentation and the taste of their creation by a panel of professionals. The public’s choice was left to the rest of the crowd in attendance. Both winners will have a chance to present their cocktail to Mexican fans at the premier launch event of MadeWithLove Mexico next February!
And the winners are… The jury’s choice was Simon Charrette from Sim’s Irish Pub for his very unique “Sweet Whisky Salmon” made of Canadian whisky Canadian Club, maple syrup (medium), 35% cream, smoked salmon and maple sugar. Sounds odd, right? Don’t mistake the ingredients for taste, it was delightful and unique.
The public’s choice went to Jane Ross-Opazo from our neighbourhood go-to L’Orignal. She created the Passe-Partout made of Bourbon whisky Maker’s Mark, black plum, cinnamon syrup, lime and black walnut bitters, one of those drinks perfect for any hour of the day.
MadeWithLove is not just fun and games, they also associate themselves to Éduc’alcool for the second year now. All profits from their Quebec-based events are donated to Éduc’alcool promoting the importance of responsible, moderate drinking. A great job done with an event that brought the city’s best and changed what we usually call Monday no-fun day to a fiesta for the senses!