On the 28th of October, Netflix released the first season of Drink Masters and it is exactly the cocktail content we needed! A show that has brought together 12 top mixologists, true masters of their craft, to showcase their uniqueness and creativity in every single mix that they make. Judged on taste, technique and presentation, the drinks on display are nothing short of jaw-dropping.
“Our toxic trait” is to feel like we can make the same cocktails, and have them look just as gorgeous. When you’ve got experienced mixologists from all around the world competing against each other to find out who the Ultimate Drink Master is, you’re bound to get some of the most amazingly presented and beautifully concocted mixes on your show! What also comes into play are the different cultures and backgrounds, and how they are represented in the works of these talented participants. So many good cocktails made it practically impossible to pick favorites, but we’ve tried to do our best:
1. The Fellowship: Meredith Barry
With a name inspired by a movie widely regarded as a cinema masterpiece, The Fellowship didn’t have much room for error. With saffron-infused reposado and ice cubes being used for the mix, Meredith took a big risk considering how often saffron proves to be overpowering as an ingredient. However, mixed with mezcal and a few other ingredients, The Fellowship turned out to hit the judges' perfect spot.
Having competed and won at multiple Cocktail Competitions, with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Meredith was bound to bring their “A game” to Drink Masters. Check out more of Meredith’s work on her Instagram: @meredithbarry92517
2. Absolut Opera: Tao Zrafi
Tao Zrafi’s Absolut Opera shone through and won one of the most exciting challenges on Drink Masters, the dessert challenge.
The Idea: making the mix taste like chocolate and coffee.
The Challenge: it should look like neither chocolate nor coffee
And the result of course was the ‘Absolut Opera’, which brought together a mix of coffee, sponge cake, almonds, milk acid, butter and cocoa nib!
A genderless fashion icon making cocktails sexier, Tao, who seemed to have found his true calling in life early into his bartending journey as he started mixing cocktails, has some other incredible work too! Check it out on his social: @travelingbartenders
3. This Passionate Life of Mine: Kate Gerwin
In the eighth episode titled ‘Spice and Ice’, the contestants were asked to craft cocktails with a spicy kick, an interesting challenge which brought out the best of their creativity! ‘The Passionate Life of Mine’, filled with experiences and memories that filled the judges with “nostalgia for home and family feels”. Presented with honey ice cream and a mixture of a reposado of tequila, a madeira and a sopaipilla, the mix was a quick success with the judging panel consisting of Frankie Salorik, Julie Renner and guest judge Tiffanie Barriere.
4. Bonsai: Christian Suzuki-Orellana (Suzu)
Starting off his bartending career in Tokyo, Japan where his grandparents owned a bar, Suzu would often pay homage to his Japanese heritage at Drink Masters. The ‘Bonsai’ would be a perfect example of Suzu’s appearance on the show. As simple as the name was, the presentation for this mix seemed to prove just as well-thought of and complex! A bonsai garden re-imagined, the judges fell in love with the aroma and flavors of the tea-blend used, an ingredient Suzu never exactly reveals.
5. Beyond Glass Ceiling: Lauren LP Paylor O'Brien
In terms of presentation, Lauren Paylor’s ‘Beyond Glass Ceiling’ was one Drink Master’s best mixes! While the judges couldn’t get enough of the mixed blanco and reposado tequila with pineapple nectar syrup and salt foam made by hand. Garnished with a lime jello wedge, LP definitely showed off her skills and experience in the world of bartending with this piece of art!
But this was nothing short of expected. An award-winning mixologist with several accolades already under her belt, LP was always going to be a strong favorite to win the inaugural Season of Drink Masters.
Written by Jason Shepherd, Beverage Trade Network