Six finalists to duel it out on Saturday for title of world’s best Ocean cocktail
KAANAPALI – The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Ocean Organic Vodka have partnered to find the world’s best Ocean cocktail. Six finalists have been selected from Ocean Vodka’s nationwide recipe contest, and the finalists will go head to head in the World’s Best Ocean Cocktail Showdown on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Maui’s Anuenue Lawn.
Two Maui contestants and four contestants from the Mainland have each been paired with a celebrity chef and a local nonprofit organization to form six teams.
Following the theme of farm to table, each chef will create a dish to pair with the finalist’s cocktail. Guests and a panel of judges will vote on their favorite cocktail as well as the best food pairing, and the winning cocktail recipe will be named the world’s best Ocean cocktail.
The winning cocktail will also be featured on the beverage menus at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa for one year, with a portion of proceeds from the sale of the cocktail being donated to the paired nonprofit organization.
“This year’s Ocean showdown promises to blend the best of what the culinary experience has to offer – craft cocktails and top-notch food pairings,” said Shonna Pinheiro Baltar, director of marketing for Ocean Vodka.
“Every year the contestants submit cocktail creations that showcase their creativity and discerning palates, and this year the submissions were exceptional!”
Finalist cocktails were selected based on taste, presentation, use of fresh ingredients and creativity. The teams are:
South Carolina contestant Rochelle Jones paired with Chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui and nonprofit organization Maui Huliau Foundation. Jones’ cocktail Tidal Dreams features Ocean Vodka, fresh peach puree, ripe avocado, ginger root and fresh lemongrass.
Maui contestant Ka’ai Fong paired with Chef Isaac Bancaco from Andaz Maui at Wailea and nonprofit organization Imua Family Services. Fong’s Keokea Park cocktail includes Ocean Vodka, fresh red bell pepper juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and Adobo Loco Mangoes Bumbye Syrup.
New Jersey contestant Carlos Ruiz paired with Chef Lyndon Honda of Laulima Events & Catering in Maui and nonprofit Make-A-Wish Foundation. “What’s Up Doc?” is Ruiz’ cocktail, which features a mix of fresh carrot juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, dill and Ocean Vodka.
Maui contestant Victor Mendoza paired with Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Caf in Kaimuki, Oahu, and nonprofit organization March of Dimes. Farmers Punch, submitted by Mendoza, mixes a homemade puree of beets, pineapple, ginger root, Thai basil and fresh squeezed orange juice with Ocean Vodka.
South Carolina contestant Megan Deschaine paired with Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof in Kahului and nonprofit Na Leo Pulama O Maui. Deschaine’s cocktail is called Sweet Caroline and includes Ocean Vodka, dry vermouth, peach and bell pepper puree, Verjus and honey syrup.
New York contestant Christina Schurr paired with Chef Will Chen from freshBOX in Manoa, Oahu, and nonprofit Maui Fishpond (‘Ao’ao O Na Loko I’a O Maui). Schurr’s entry, called Pineapple Plum Spritzer, incorporates ripe red plum, fresh pineapple, basil, seltzer and Ocean Vodka.
Tickets for the World’s Best Ocean Cocktail Showdown are $60 general admission pre-sale and $70 general admission on the day of the contest. VIP tickets, which include access to the event one hour early with open bar and light pupus, are available pre-sale for $95 and $105 the day of the event. Approxiamtely $15 from every ticket sold will be donated to the participating charities.
To purchase tickets, visit www.honoluluboxoffice.com.