Spirited competition: Big Blue Cocktail Contest comes to South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Spirited competition: Big Blue Cocktail Contest comes to South Lake Tahoe

Autumn Whitney
The Loft's "Tahoe Blue Piranha" cocktail is made with blueberry pomegranate juice, organic simple syrup and fresh lime.
Courtesy / The Loft |

Start Thanksgiving week with a bang — the first-ever Big Blue Cocktail Contest hits the South Shore on Saturday, Nov. 19, so gather your friends and get out on the town. Ten bartenders, each from a different location, have crafted brand-new, unique cocktails and will compete to claim the title of Tahoe’s best vodka cocktail.

This competition has only one rule: each drink must be crafted with Tahoe Blue Vodka. Everything else is fair game. With no other restrictions, these one-of-a-kind submissions range in flavors and are hard to find anywhere else.

Upon entry, attendees will receive 10 tickets — to be redeemed for drinks — and one voting ticket, given to whomever they think should claim the title and $1,000 prize money.

But that’s not all — the party also features a live DJ, prize giveaways, food and classic games like corn hole. And that’s not the best part — experience the fun for only $20! All who attend get to sample 10 drinks, and also receive a wristband that grants free access to the after-party — an Arden Park Roots concert inside Vinyl at Hard Rock. Enjoy cocktails from 3-7 p.m., and head to the gig straight after — keep the party going all night!

Guests are strongly encouraged to dress in blue to keep in theme with the event. The more you get into it, the more fun it will be.

Here are the drinks you’ll be enjoying throughout the party:

Dirty Cowgirl

Ace High Saloon & Smokehouse bartender Karin Priou has crafted this cocktail that, in addition to Tahoe Blue Vodka, features strawberry meyer lemonade and ginger ale and is rimmed with a house-made barbecue rub.

Lychees Kiss

Bartender James Olson created the blend of lychee liqueur, fresh pineapple and lemon juices, ginger beer and Tahoe Blue Vodka for the event. The drink is topped with a pineapple/ginger garnish and is sure to please your taste buds.

Pomegranate Shrub Fizz with a Holiday Spiced Air

Phillip McElvain, the bartender at Gunbarrel Tavern & Eatery, has made a cocktail that will get you excited for the holiday season. With allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, eggs, vinegar, pomegranate, sugar, lime, soda water, heavy cream and Tahoe Blue Vodka, it’s a unique drink you won’t find anywhere else.


West Shore Café’s cocktail, prepared by bartender Amber Skallerud, is a simple blend of vodka, fresh lime, Serrano chili, pear and agave. Sweet, but with a spicy kick — yum!

Blueberry Minted Mule

Fire & Ice bartender Daniel Hart has prepared a simple twist on a classic drink. This minted mule features blueberry-infused simple syrup, aromatic bitters and homemade ginger beer, and is topped with a mint, blueberry, lime and candied ginger garnish.

Lani Ho’oilo “Heavenly Winter”

Brandon Cambron at Kalani’s mixed a concoction of Tahoe Blue Vodka, coconut cream and milk, pineapple pisco, muddled pineapple and nutmeg. The drink is complete with a sugar pineapple wheel and lime zest garnish that will transport you to your favorite beach.

Tahoe Blue Piranha

The Loft’s blend of vodka, blueberry pomegranate juice, organic simple syrup and fresh lime was prepared by bartender Lauren McMillin. The drink is fruity and refreshing, perfect for any party.

Big Girls Don’t Chai

Bartender Jacob Craig over at Cold Water Brewery has combined Tahoe Blue Vodka with cinnamon bitters, orange zest, chai tea, caramel, cream and pear-infused simple syrup. Topped with a cinnamon stick and chai-spiced poached pear garnish, the drink truly represents what fall is all about.

Hard Rock

The host location is supplying two drinks from different venues within the establishment. Bartenders Ken Newbold and Bryan Suechting were still preparing their concoctions at the time of writing this article, so the final two drinks will be surprises!

The 21+ event, a collaboration between Lake Tahoe Action and Tahoe Blue Vodka, takes place on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 3-7 p.m. inside the Graceland Banquet Ballroom at Hard Rock.

Tickets are available online at bit.ly/bigbluetix, as well as at the door. Learn more on the Big Blue Cocktail Contest Facebook event page — and don’t forget to wear blue!

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