Let me tell you about the epic night of the March Cocktail Finals that took place last sunday on April 1st!
To remind you, for most of March, we would pit two classic cocktails against each other each night. We had four brackets representing Gin, Tequila, Rum and Whiskey. The Ramos Gin Fizz was the number one seed while the Sazerac was the number two seed. In order to win a round, a drink would have to receive more votes from guests that had tasted both of the competing drinks for that night. After 14 nights of madness, it all came down to this.
The Mamie Taylor is a great drink, it’s simple, spicy, and smoky. It was an underdog against the Sazerac and against the Paloma. But the mixture of 12 year scotch, fresh lime juice, and homemade gingerbeer was destined for glory, and it clawed its way into the finals. The Ramos on the other hand was slated to win. It’s a flashy crowd pleaser. When you see that white highball, with a glorious cap of froth and a seductive swirl of orange zest, you know you want one, even before you know what’s in it. But the proof of it’s dominance is in the taste and texture. It’s like sipping on a cloud. Gin, lemon, lime, sugar, eggwhite and cream shaken for a nice long time to whip up all sorts of frothy goodness. The betting man would be smart to put money on the Ramos.
Which brings us to sunday night! Sunday, sunday, sunday! It was a relatively quiet night, and it was just me behind the bar. Almost everyone that came in tried at least one Ramos and one Mamie Taylor. My arms were wicked tired. And at 12:20am I thought I had served up my last pair for the night. The two ladies cast their votes, and surprisingly the Mamie was on top by 2 votes.
But then at 12:30 two people walked in. Just in time to catch last call!!! Of course they want to get in on the finals. So I make them a Ramos and a Mamie. And they both vote Ramos! Fourth quarter, at the buzzer! It’s all tied up! What am I going to do? I don’t have a contingency plan! How do we go into overtime?
Bam! 12:45! Three former coworkers of mine (who shall remain nameless) roll in. Normally I would tell them we were all done and I couldn’t serve them. But a winner had to be chosen. So into overtime we go! First bartender votes with the Ramos! Second bartender makes the accurate assessment that although the Ramos is great, there is a time and a place for it, being almost never. The Mamie, on the other hand is light and refreshing yet complex enough that it can be enjoyed anytime.
So it all comes down to one vote, and this young woman had the pleasure of drawing it out. She sipped both drinks until they were both half full. All the while saying how she was still deliberating. The six other guests and myself, waited with baited breath. Then she abruptly poured the Mamie Taylor into the Ramos, declaring it a tie and that the “Mami-os” was the true winner! But of course after I told her that was unacceptable, she had to agree with the cold, hard, refreshing truth, that the Mamie Taylor was better.
And so, with buzzer beaters, and overtimes, and an amazing tournament overall, the winner of this year’s March Cocktail Madness is declared to be, the Mamie Taylor. Invented 113 years ago for an opera star of the same name!
Congratulations to the winner! Let’s all raise a glass, Cheers!