''It's a matter of pride for the bartenders to present these drinks, so they really go all out,'' says Hector Torres, a partner at Beacon Bar & Grill. On Tuesday, April 17, Beacon hosts its 5th Annual Best Martini Contest, where guests and a panel of judges vote on their favorite Skyy-vodka-based concoctions shaken and stirred for the occasion by bartenders from area venues.
Bought in advance, a $20 ticket gets a guest at least one tasting portion of each creative martini – technically, a ''martini-style cocktail,'' Torres concedes. ''If you're a purist and think that a martini is [only] a la James Bond, that you will not find [here].''
(Photo by Todd Franson)
What you will find ''is really elaborate, intricate concoctions,'' says Metro Weekly's Sean Bugg, who has served as a judge since the contest's inception. ''Some are really sweet and easy, and then some are a little more challenging. But they're all really good."
Bar Rouge, DC Coast, Dixon Wine Bar, the Howard Theatre and Vinoteca are among venues represented at this year's event, which earns the Top 3 bartenders cash prizes and the possibility of being featured on Beacon's outdoor Sky Bar drink menu. The contest also includes free appetizers, items drawn from Beacon chef Steve Hunter's spring and summer menu.
''The event really invites conviviality, and you can drink superbly well and eat very well,'' says Torres.
What more could you ask for? Make it a double.
The 5th Annual Best Martini Contest is Tuesday, April 17, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Beacon Bar & Grill, 1615 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance. Call 202-872-1126 or visit bbgwdc.com.