The Daily Herald held its 4th Annual Absolut Martini Challenge recently, ending with “The Best Martinis in the ‘Burbs” winners being chosen at a fun night at Drink Nightclub in Schaumburg, IL on Monday, December 12, 2016. Chicago suburban mixologists submitted their martini recipes the Daily Herald online. The Daily Herald received over 12,000 votes from readers, who chose their favorite top 12 mixologists to compete at the live martini mixing contest finale event. The bartenders came from suburban area restaurants and bars, and each with their own special flavors to create some very fancy martinis.
The First Place prize and gold martini trophy went to Gail Fardman, a bartender at JL’s Pizza and Sports in Palatine, IL for her drink “The Luxe Life.” Her cocktail was a mixture of top-shelf Absolut Elyx vodka, Lillet Blanc, fresh strawberries, rhubarb and strawberry jam, fresh rosemary and mint, with a lemon and lychee nut garnish. Gail earned bragging rights as creator of “The Best Martini in the ‘Burbs” and won $500 in prizes.
Blake Faircloth of Punch Bowl Social in Schaumburg took second place for his “Punch My Blackberries” martini and Max Huber of Arlington Heights’ Salsa 17 earned third for his self-named drink “El Maximo,” a Mexican-inspired martini with a chili rim. Apollo from Jameson’s Charhouse earned honorable mention for his “White Star Key Lime Martini.”
Lifespan Brands contributed Lava® lamps to the event to light up the bars and stage with some glitter and sparkle, for the gift bags that all contestants received, and for raffle baskets given out at the end of the night.
A portion of the raffle basket and overall event proceeds went to WACO, Woodfield Area Children’s Organization, Inc. (http://www.waco4kids.org/). WACO is a nonprofit dedicated to creating positive childhood memories and providing basic needs for children living at or below the poverty level in Chicago’s northwest and western suburbs. A full 97 percent of the funds they raise goes directly to help children.
For more on the martini challenge, see these Daily Herald articles: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161212/entlife/161219666/ and http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161104/entlife/161109742/.