Whose punch will we find in our cups?
By Francine Cohen

Whose Tiki tipple will be raised in a toast as the official cocktail for Tales of the Cocktail 2010 and lauded by cocktail professionals and aficionados far and wide?

You’ll have to wait until March 31st to find out what you’ll surely be sipping at Tales, but for now we can tell you that there are ten finalists, and it’s a very impressive lineup of Tiki mixing talent.

These talented mixing whizzes were offered a chance to create the official cocktail for the summer’s most spirited event thanks to Tales of the Cocktail’s partnership with Culinary Concierge Magazine www.culinaryconcierge.com, Tasting Panel Magazine www.tastingpanelmag.com, and CocktailTimes.com www.cocktailtimes.com. With over 150 recipes submitted judges Jeff Berry, Anthony Dias-Blue, Robert Hess and Stephen Remsberg had quite a task selecting the ten finalists.

Author and Tiki expert Jeff Berry comments, “Sampling from over 150 of these creative, complex, forward-thinking, often delicious ‘Tikified’ Planter’s Punches was pure pleasure, but choosing only 10 was no easy task — there were just too many good ones. Often it came down to the originality of the garnish, or the use of an unexpected ingredient that harmonized particularly well. But I can confidently say that if I saw these 10 finalists on the cocktail menu of a Tiki bar, I would never leave.”

Robert Hess, author and host of The Cocktail Spirit adds, “It’s always exciting to see bartenders who can leverage their experience with cocktails and ingredients and come up with their own variations of some of the classic styles. Just like fine cuisine, the best new cocktails are build upon the classic recipes of the past.”

The recipes that are in the running were created by these folks you may know and love (in alphabetical order):

• Peter Bogren
• Kathy Casey
• Gina Chersevani
• James Goggin
• Jason Littrell
• Evan Martin
• Adam Seger
• Chantal Tseng
• David Willhite
• Timothy Zohn

The first place winner will receive $1,250 cash and the recipe will become the “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail 2010. The winning cocktail and its creator will be featured throughout the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail event.

The ten finalist’s recipes are online at www.TalesoftheCocktail.com.

Cast your vote for the winning drink by sending us a note at www.insidefandb.com via email: francinecohen@insidefandb.com or follow us on twitter @insidefandb. We’ll see how your opinions stack up against the experts’. Of course, everyone’s a winner when it comes to enjoying Tiki time.