At the first-ever cocktail-crafting competition at the 8th annual Westchester Magazine Wine & Food Fest in June, RiverMarket’s beverage director, Emilio Ugarte, came away with the win for his rose-hued Latin Lover drink. The five competing bartenders were tasked with creating a cocktail using Pisco 1615, a smooth-textured South American premium brandy made from fermented grape juice. They were judged in four categories: presentation, name, correct use of Pisco, and of course taste, where the combination of bright fruit and silken smoothness put the Latin Lover on top.
“I look at bartending as cooking with liquids,” says the Tarrytown resident, who regularly walks to work. “It’s all about balance, nuance, and creating interesting flavor combinations that make you say: ‘Wow, that’s delicious!’”
Ugarte defeated bartenders from Mima in Irvington, Rye House in Port Chester, NoMa Social in New Rochelle, and The Birch Collective in White Plains.
“It’s funny to hear the reaction of people when you ask them if they would like a Latin Lover. Most of the time it’s like, ‘Yeah, who doesn’t?’”