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Hilton & Doubletree Top Bar Chef

Thai Mojito TiniHilton and Doubletree just announced the winners of the Top Bar Chef competition, held in New Orleans last week. Bartenders from hotels around the country duked it out for the honor and Mirjana Kucan from the Hilton in Austin, Texas took home the top honors for her cocktail creation the Hot Summer Night and Nathan Meyer from the Doubletree Hotel Denver, Colorado scored with his Thai Mojito Tini. Sounds tasty, huh? Don’t worry, recipes follow…

These cocktails will appear in the Hilton “Travel.Taste.Toast.” and Doubletree “Exotic Escapes” beverage menus along with cocktails created by the infamous mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. The menus are scheduled to launch this fall at selected Hilton and Doubletree hotels. The winners will also appear in a DVD with Abou-Ganim that will be available for guests at select Hilton and Doubletree Hotels. The other finalists in the competition were Antonio Ramos of the Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort, Leigh Warnham of the Hilton Chicago, Patrick Sarte of the Doubletree Hotel San Jose and Jesse Lessman of the Doubletree Surfcomber in Miami.

Here are the winning recipes:

Hot Summer Night
: (Created by Mirjana Kucan, Hilton Austin)

Ingredients: 1.5 oz. ABSOLUT® vodka, .75 oz. fresh lemon juice, .5 oz. simple syrup(a), drizzle of honey, fresh thyme leaves, Sprite®. Instructions: Muddle pinch of thyme leaves, lemon juice, simple syrup and honey in bottom of rocks glass. Fill glass with ice, pour in vodka and fill with Sprite. Pour ingredients into a mixing tin and back into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and thyme sprig.

Thai Mojito Tini: (Created by Nathan Meyer, Doubletree Hotel Denver)

Ingredients: .75 oz. BACARDI®, .75 oz. Malibu® Coconut, .5 oz Cointreau®, lime wedge, lemon wedge, .5 oz. simple syrup(a), fresh Thai basil sprigs, Thai chili peppers, fresh ginger, fresh ruby red grapefruit, tangerine-flavored sugar rimmer, Sprite®. Instructions: In a mixing tin, muddle a fresh sprig of Thai basil, three ruby red grapefruit segments (no pith), 1 teaspoon of ginger, lemon wedge, lime wedge and three halves of Thai chili peppers. Add a generous portion of ice and pour in 1.5 oz. simple syrup, BACARDI, Malibu Coconut and Cointreau. Shake vigorously for ten seconds, strain into a chilled martini glass lined with a tangerine-flavored sugar rimmer and top with Sprite. Garnish with an orange twist.

(a) Simple Syrup – 1 cup sugar mixed with 1 cup water. Shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved.

Mmmmm. Why don’t I ever get asked to judge these things?