The Hippo


Sep 23, 2019








 2nd annual Mixology Shakedown

When: Monday, May 14, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: O Steaks & Seafood, 11 S. Main St., Concord
Cost: $30 per person. Tickets are limited; purchase them online

Shaking it up
Mixology Shakedown cocktail competition returns


 By Matt Ingersoll
After winning three preliminary regional events held across the state last month, three New Hampshire bartenders will showcase their mixology talents and face off to create the best-tasting cocktail during the Mixology Shakedown cocktail party and competition.
The second annual Shakedown, presented by the Hippo and O Steaks & Seafood, will be held on Monday, May 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the restaurant’s Concord location. The event is open to the public and features a night of hors d’oeuvres, cocktail samples and chances to see some of the state’s best mixologists in action. The winner of the competition will receive a $1,000 cash prize and the title of Mixology Shakedown champion for 2018.
Competing in this year’s event will be Rebecca Paine from Fireworks Restaurant in Keene, James LaPlante from The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa in Jackson and Timeena Hartford from Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe in Portsmouth. Event coordinator Roxanne Macaig said all three will be utilizing West Cork Bourbon Cask Irish whiskey to make their cocktails in large batches for all the attendees to taste.
“It’s a really fun event. You get to try all of the cocktails from the finalists and vote for your favorite one,” Macaig said. “There’s also a Judge’s Award, and the judges are tasting the cocktails blind, not knowing who created them.”
Macaig said the Shakedown is a fun night out and a great way to see what goes into the process of creating craft cocktails with what you have at your disposal.
“These mixologists use fresh ingredients, and there are some really amazing techniques that are used,” she said. “They may use simple syrups from botanicals, or [add] egg whites to the cocktails to make them frothy and rich.”
Reached by phone at West Cork Distillers in Ireland, which produces the Bourbon Cask whiskey to be used during the shakedown, co-founder John O’Connell said the drink’s high malt content and flavor make it a great choice to mix craft cocktails with.
“It has a blend of 75 percent grain and 25 percent malt, and both components are aged in first-fill bourbon casks … which gives it a lovely smooth vanilla and caramel flavor,” O’Connell said. “The spirit itself is a very nice malty drink with citrus and green orchard fruit and a slight spice undertone, which we think makes for a very amenable and approachable whiskey.”
West Cork Distillers was formed in 2003 by O’Connell and Dennis and Ger McCarthy, two of his friends who were former fishermen and interested in doing something different with their lives. Today, they distribute their whiskey to about 65 countries around the world. According to O’Connell, West Cork is one of only two distilleries in the country to exclusively use Irish grown grain for the production of its whiskey. They also use Irish spring water and malt some of their own barley.
In addition to the cocktails the mixologists will be making, Macaig said a featured cocktail at the restaurant that day, also using West Cork’s Bourbon Cask, will be available for $5. A portion of the ticket sales from the Shakedown will benefit The Friendly Kitchen, a pantry that provides hot meals in Concord.
“What’s cool is that they’ll be making their cocktails in front of everyone, so you’ll be able to see those techniques in action and then taste the sensation,” Macaig said. “The crafting is just phenomenal, too. There are so many nuances, and you see the diversity of the spirit.” 

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