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Meet the New Winner of Westchester’s Bartender Shake-Off

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Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Fest toasts new faces in this year’s winner’s circle following the Bartender Shake-Off.

There is a new bartender to hold up the coveted shaker trophy for this year’s Bartender Shake-Off. Frankie Rodriguez from Greca Mediterranean Kitchen + Bar in White Plains wowed judges with his cocktail Frankie Goes to Playland.

Using Tito’s Vodka as a base, notes of coconut, almond, lemon, honey, and the Greek brandy Tsipouro mingle in a highball glass. The drink is then topped with coconut flakes and a rim. Swing by Greca to try the winning cocktail for yourself.

The waterfront vibes are what inspired Rodriguez’s drink build. “I knew I wanted to do a tiki-style drink because we’re right next to a beach, and we’ve had warm weather,” he explains. “I thought that these flavors really replicated summer.”

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L to R: Three-time Bartender Shake-Off champ Emilio Ugarte of RiverMarket in Tarrytown (with his dog, Guapo) passes off the trophy to this year’s winner, Frankie Rodriguez of Greca Mediterranean Kitchen + Bar, with host Katie Schlientz of IntoxiKate. By Ed Shin.

The bartender of more than 23 years also had to get creative when he couldn’t source some components. “I wanted to use certain ingredients, and I couldn’t get them, so I infused my vodka with cloves and made my own,” says Rodriguez. “I did a candy lemon zest to replicate Velvent Falernum, which I couldn’t find, so again, I made my own.”

The 2022 outing of WM’s Burger & Beer Blast also had a new face in the winner’s circle. After floating in the top level of voting in previous years and taking home second place in 2021, Pleasantville’s Southern Table took home the top prize with their Bulleit Burger. What was between their buns, you ask? Using Piccinini Bros meat, the burger was slathered in a Bulleit bourbon glaze, aged cheddar, smoked bacon, caramalized onions, and spicy aioli.

Related: 5 Westchester County Bartenders All Cocktail Lovers Need to Know

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