Five mixologists meet the challenge for the Homewood Science Center

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Five mixologists meet the challenge for the Homewood Science Center

July 27, 2018 - 00:58
  Executive chef Jay Ruff, 
  right, and server Miguel
  Zapata served up the
  winning drink, "Flashing
  Palumbas," from Lassen's
  Sports Bar & Grill.
  by Marilyn Thomas/
  H-F Chronicle)
Five mixologists showed how to combine the art and science of a perfect cocktail at the Homewood Science Center’s Cocktail Chemistry Challenge July 19.
There was something for every taste from the five who concocted “The Citrus Horizon” for The Copper Still; “Broken Barrel of Funk” for The Cottage on Dixie; “The Science Center” for Grape & Grain; “S’More What?” for La Voute Bar + Bistro; and “Flashing Palumbas” for Lassen's Sports Bar & Grill.
The trick was each drink was required to include three ingredients: smoke; an herb from the Lamiaceae variety, including basil, mint, rosemary, sage and lavender; and vodka (preferably from sponsor Tito’s Handmade Vodka). Then they added their own special touches to come up with just the right flavor.
  Mixologist Jessica Gacsko
  is ready to serve "The
  Science Center," her
  creation for Grape &
  Grain entered into
  the Homewood Science
  Center's Cocktail
  Chemistry Challenge
  July 19.

Each mixologist said the creation would be listed on their establishment's menu.
For LaVoute, one featured ingredient was French cognac “because we’re a French restaurant,” said Shawn Rogers, the general manager.
David McDermott, a recently graduated science education teacher, said he wanted the drink for The Copper Still to have a citrusy flavor, and over time he experimented with 14 different ingredients to get the drink he wanted. His family operates the business and he's worked there the past few months.
  Smoke vapors are evident
  as Shawn Rogers and
  Johanna Morawski
  prepare servings of
  "S'More What?" presented
  by LaVoute Bar + Bistro.
  They worked with Jerry
  Sharpe (not pictured).

“It’s amazing how changing one ingredient from a half-ounce to an ounce totally changes the whole thing,” he said, noting the drink he originally planned for the event was altered the night before because “I had a new idea.”
Ryan Salisbery of The Cottage on Dixie used tepache, a fermented pineapple water, combined with Mexican spices, a touch of tequila, local honey and to top it off, rosemary and mint flame-roasted on slats from a bourbon barrel.

Grape & Grain mixologist Jessica Gacsko used Tito’s induced with strawberries, dragonberry, lemon juice, a type of brown sugar and beet orange juice. The combination gave the specialty drink a violet color and the floating smoked mint garnish and topped with butterfly pea looked like it was set on velvet. 
  David McDermott prepares
  another batch of "Citrus
  Horizon" presented by
  Copper Still Martini Bar &

The competition’s winner was Lassen’s “Flashing Palumbas” made with a classic twist on a paloma, a combination of tequila and grapefruit, with oak aged vodka, guajillo pepper, grapefruit juice, grapefruit simple syrup, grapefruit soda and smoked seasalt. The rim of the serving glass was induced with sage and lavender. 
The mixologists efforts got rave reviews from the more than 200 people in attendance at the fundraiser, which is helping the science center board reach its $100,000 donations goal for the year. 
  Ryan Salisbery sets a flame
  to mint and rosemary on
  slates from a bourbon
  barrel as part of the
  Cottage on Dixie's "Broken
  Barrel of Funk" drink.

“I like that it’s a competition,” said Stephanie Wright of Flossmoor. “I was super excited to come.”
Edie Dobrez, executive director of the science center, toasted the partygoers for their support and asked them to raise their glasses in a toast to the five businesses who took part in the challenge.
“Your generosity is humbling,” she told them.