Centennial Macchu Pisco Competition Deadline is today, June 30th

By Francine Cohen

Bet you didn’t know that 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by American explorer, Hiram Bingham. Us either; until the good folks at Macchu Pisco www.macchupisco.com told us this interesting fact.

Even more interesting was learning that Macchu Pisco has partnered with the Peruvian government, Peru’s national airline Avianca Taca www.aviancataca.com, and Orient-Express www.orient-express.com to create a cocktail competition unlike most others.

More than just a cocktail competition, this spirited adventure celebrates the culinary culture of Peru – from drink to food and their origins. Lizzie Asher, President of Macchu Pisco LLC, comments, “While we toast to one Peruvian treasure being re-discovered by an American, likewise we can say that Peruvian Pisco is being put on the map thanks to bartenders who embody Hiram Bingham’s spirit of adventure.”

After traveling to Boston to judge their local competition this past Monday (a big round of applause to Boston’s winner, Naomi Levy of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks www.easternstandardboston.com) thanks to an invitation from the Macchu Pisco team (including sister Melanie Asher who is the founder of the company and the brand’s master distiller) we know that the spirit of adventure needed for this competition is different than your normal approach.

So, let’s see, how can we explain it to you so fully that you’ll want to enter? Well, this one’s national (yes, we know, so are some others). This one allows every competitor to present their drink and describe it to the judges (yes, yes, we know, other competitions have that element too). This one has prizes for: the best tasting cocktail (uh, huh, we know, same old, same old); most creative/relevant to the topic (hmmmm, getting a little different here, aren’t we?); and takes presentation into consideration (tip – invest in pretty glassware, judges like pretty glassware). The Centennial competition is judged by both spirits industry experts and Peruvian government officials (that’s right, how many other competitions can say that Peru’s Ambassador to the UN, and Consul General are weighing in on the winners?), and, last but not least, the winners from each city’s competition all go to Peru where one person wins it all (now, tell us, who else takes their competition winners to Lima? Yeah, we didn’t think so…).

Competitions have already taken place in Washington, DC and in Boston. New York and San Francisco’s bartenders put up their drinks on 7/5, in Los Angeles judges will sip winning cocktails on 7/6 and Vegas is the last city where Pisco Sour variations are put to the test on 7/7. Each city’s winner will go on to Lima, Peru this Fall where the final round of the competition will take place. The grand-prize winning cocktail will be crowned as the official “Centennial Macchu Pisco Sour,” and its creator will then travel to Cusco where he/she will stay at 5-star El Monasterio Hotel www.monasteriohotel.com, continuing to Machu Picchu itself via the famed Hiram Bingham train that is part of the historic line of Orient-Express trains.

Enter now (rules below) and take your shot at rediscovering the Pisco Sour. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. 6/30/11 to lizzie@macchupisco.com.

General rules

Each invitee should have a Pisco cocktail with Macchu Pisco during the month of July to celebrate the Centennial of Machu Picchu and National Pisco Month. Entries should be submitted no later than June 22th, 2011.

1. The Recipe submitted can be a cocktail (served straight up or on the rocks) or a long drink.
1. Each recipe shall contain Macchu Pisco. The maximum number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients in the recipe shall be limited to seven (7) including dashes, drops and rimmed glassware.
2. Each submission must be accompanied by the drink’s official name.
1. Competitors are required to provide their own glassware for the judging panel. A total of 5 glasses.
2. Ingredients may be measured with a measuring cup or freely poured.
3. Drinks may be stirred, shaken, “built”, or blended
4. Competitor is allowed to use his own bar utensils to prepare the cocktail.

1. Each competitor must use Macchu Pisco as a base spirit.
2. Basic (fresh) fruit juices, fresh egg-white, non alcoholic mixers, carbonated and non carbonated waters – and bitters are allowed to be used.
3. Home made – or self-made ingredients, or the blending of multiple ingredients to be counted as one (1) ingredient, are allowed.

1. Garnishes will be prepared (cut-up) prior to going on stage.

1. The sequence of competitors in the competition shall be on a drawn on the day of the competition.
2. Attire is at the discretion of the bartender.
3. Each competitor shall be limited to seven (7) minutes to prepare his/her cocktails.
4. The competition will be comprised of one round only. The total points compiled from the jury will determine the respective Overall Grand Prize Winner, Taste Winner, Presentation Winner and Relevance to Centennial Winner.
5. You shall be provided with workable bar stations.
6. The first panel of competitors drawn by lot will come on stage.
7. Two competitors will compete at the same time on stage
8. When the competitors have set out, and displayed the ingredients and bottles, they shall await for the signal from the judge to begin mixing.
9. Competitors must present his/her cocktail to the audience on a clean, folded cloth napkin when finished. Smile! This is when the photographer takes your picture. This step is important as the clock continues to run until you present your drink.
10. After both competitors are finished, the first one to have done so will be the first to share with the audience how Machu Picchu inspired his/her cocktail. Each presenter will have no more than 1 minute to address those in attendance.
11. The stations will be cleaned and set up for the next panel of competitors. This procedure will continue throughout the competition.
12. All competitors will prepare five drinks (6-ounce each) according to their recipe for judging.
13. Once participants are finished, they will proceed off stage where they will prepare approx. 30 miniature samples of their respective cocktails for the audience.