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Niagara Falls
Friday, June 14, 2024
BarrelHead’s peachy concoction wins icewine cocktail competition
Peller Estates offered a Smoked Icewine Negroni featuring their cab franc icewine, Spirit in Niagara's Juiced Up Gin, Campari, hot pepper bitters and smoked candied orange. Julia Sacco
The Sugar Plum Fairy cocktail from Palatine Hills Estate Winery was a smash hit during the Icewine Cocktail Competition Saturday night thanks to its cute and quirky presentation. Julia Sacco
NOTLers Mackenzie Brown, Logan Brown, Skyler Richard and Emily Warren enjoy cocktails from Palatine Hills Estate Winery during the Icewine Cocktail Competition Saturday night. Julia Sacco
Michael Zappitelli and Daniel Vitaterna hoist up their trophy for the winning Peach Mule icewine cocktail. Julia Sacco

Icewine isn’t exactly known as a cocktail mixer, but Saturday night’s Icewine Cocktail Competition could convert a nonbeliever.

After the day’s icewine festivities, about 150 ticket holders met in the ballroom of the old Court House for an evening of music, dancing, food and, of course, cocktails. 

“We really wanted to showcase how modern icewine is, that it’s not just a sipping wine,” said Jessica Taylor, events manager for the NOTL Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival. 

The versatility of the drink shone through in each of the unique creations offered throughout the night, but one cocktail stood out to voters and judges alike.

BarrelHead Pizza’s Peach Mule, featuring Spirit in Niagara’s Juicy Peach Eau de Vie, took home the victory based on both audience votes and a final judgment by a panel that included Arnie Lepp, Minerva Ward and David McDonald.

“We’ve been serving it on our patio for four years. We’ve sold over 30,000 of them,” said Michael Zappitelli, from BarrelHead, the restaurant at Pillitteri Estates Winery.

“It was a no-brainer for us.”

Taylor explained that deciding on the winning cocktail could not have been an easy task given all the unique flavours offered.

“They really brought their A-game. I didn’t even know you could make cocktails with icewine, so it’s just fantastic to see its versatility on display in creations by our five-star restaurants and wineries,” she said. 

“I’ve been looking at all these cocktails for months now and honestly I couldn’t pick one. They put in a lot of work into creating handmade cocktails and they’ve done a fantastic job”

Aside from testing out the number of drinks and samplings offered at the competition, the audience could dance along to music from the DJ or even enjoy a trick or two from magician Shaun Ferguson – two new additions to the celebration for its comeback post-pandemic. 

Taylor outlined all of the hard work that went into ensuring that guests could once again enjoy the competition night to the absolute fullest.

“We kind of went with an ’80s modern feel, everything old is new again. It really showcases everything that’s here in the grand hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” she said.

 

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