Drago Centro’s Cocktail Contest: The Finals!

You may recall that last month I wrote about an ongoing cocktail competition at Drago Centro restaurant in downtown L.A., The People’s Cocktail Contest. It went on for four weeks — each week a theme ingredient was announced, recipes were submitted through the week, and during the weekend one recipe was selected by Michael Shearin, their sommelier/beverage director and Jaymee Mandeville, their head bartender, to continue through the finals. The winning cocktail gets added to the restaurant’s cocktail menu. The preliminaries are now closed, the four final cocktails have been selected, and it’s time for the face-off!

The finals for the People’s Cocktail Contest will be held at Drago Centro, 525 S. Flower St. this Wednesday the 30th starting sometime after 6pm. I don’t have a hard start time, but that’s when they asked me to arrive. [UPDATE: Judging begins at 7pm!] I suspect there’ll be a certain amount of cat-herding involved to get everyone there, set up and ready to roll. They’ll also be unveiling their new summer cocktail menu at the event, so there’ll be plenty of good stuff to try.

This is going to be such a blast, especially because two of the other three finalists are friends of mine. I’m looking forward to meeting Jeni, week four’s finalist, too; her blog is full of gorgeous food photos.

If you can’t attend the final face-off you can still play along at home; make the cocktails and see which one’s your favorite. I posted the recipe for my cocktail entry in Week 1: Blueberry, the Bell’aspetto, last month. Here are the other three finalists’ cocktail recipes, pulled from Drago Centro’s Twitter feed (no pictures of the drinks, alas; I was too lazy):

Week 2: Fernet Branca
Finalist: Ron Dollete, lushangeles.com


1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Krogstad Aquavit
1 oz Cointreau
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Week 3: Gin (or genever)
Finalist: Matt Robold, rumdood.com


2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Scotch
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters.

Stir with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Week 4: Lemon
Finalist: Jeni Afuso, Oishii Eats


1/2 fresh peach
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 rye whiskey
1 oz lemon juice
Club soda

Muddle peach with simple syrup. Add rye and lemon juice. Shake with ice, strain into tall glass over ice, top with club soda.

Wish us luck! No matter who wins, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Join us if you can.


6 Responses to “Drago Centro’s Cocktail Contest: The Finals!”

  1. Ron said:

    Jun 28, 10 at 11:40 am

    I don’t expect my cocktail to win anything. I plan on getting drunk in a way that’s best described as, “Happy Just To Be Nominated”.

  2. Savory Hunter said:

    Jun 28, 10 at 11:46 am

    Looking forward to the finals. Funny how all four finalists are bloggers. May the tastiest drink win!

  3. Chuck said:

    Jun 28, 10 at 3:16 pm

    I’m in the “happy to be nominated” camp myself, and looking forward to a fine time with fine folk. A bowl of pasta or two wouldn’t be bad, either.


  4. Noelle said:

    Jun 30, 10 at 2:38 pm

    SUPER excited to try the beverages… and… to meet Jeni. ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Mike S. said:

    Jun 30, 10 at 9:45 pm

    Well? Results??

  6. Chuck said:

    Jul 01, 10 at 12:23 am

    The Momo Rye Fizz was the winner. Congratulations to Jeni!!