A month-long battle of the cocktail shakers is coming to a frothy finish this week when two local bartenders compete for “top mixologist” bragging rights during the popular Taste of the Nation foodie event.
The face-off, which happens Thursday night at the Kravis Center, wraps up a fundraising contest by 10 local bars and eateries to benefit the national No Kid Hungry campaign. The participating establishments crafted specialty drinks to raise money for the effort that aims to eradicate childhood hunger in America.
So the final two contenders are those whose creative drinks raised most funds.
They are: Jonathan Silva of Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach and Matt Swig of Max’s Harvest in downtown Delray Beach.
The cocktail contest, dubbed “The Shake Up,” is in its first year at the annual Taste of the Nation food-and-drink bash, which features 45 of the top restaurants and chefs in the county, four local craft beer breweries, two cocktail stations, one local coffee roaster and 12 wine-pouring tables.
It’s an effort local chefs have been eager to support because 100 percent of funds raised go to the cause. Last year, the local effort raised enough to help provide meals to more than 760,000 children in need, organizers say.
The Shake Up’s throwdown will take place on the main stage of the Kravis’ Cohen Pavilion as “mystery ingredient” baskets are revealed to the two bartender-contenders, who are allowed to bring one secret ingredient of their own into the contest. They will have five minutes to whip up two cocktails for the event judges. (Disclosure: I will be serving as one of those judges. Let’s hope the secret ingredients don’t include anchovies.)
Palm Beach’s Taste of the Nation
When: Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (VIP access at 6 p.m.)
Where: Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
Tickets: General admission tickets cost $125, VIP $200 at TasteOfTheNation.org/palmbeach