• Maria Valetta


    Fine Wine Representative for International Wine Brokers Inc., Certified Specialist of Wine, Wine Educator, Freelance Writer, and Former Host of The Philly Dish. Connoisseur of Food and Wine With a Passion for Travel and Culture!

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Philly’s Passionate New “With Love XOXO” Cocktail

The vibe was energetic yesterday evening at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation’s –With Love, Philadelphia XOXO– first ever, cocktail competition.

The event was held at Square 1682 restaurant in the relatively new Kimpton Hotel Palomar. This exciting event pulled together by Miss B Where, Laura Burkhardt, publisher of the famed Philly Where Mag and GTPMC challenged a handful of our city’s top mixologists from leading center city hotel bars to creatively come up with a cocktail worthy enough to be called the “With Love Cocktail”.

The 8 participating hotels included The Ritz Carlton, Le Meridien, the Palomar, the Hyatt at the Bellevue, the Lowes, the Westin, and the Marriot Downtown. The Palomar’s Square 1682 happily hosted our enthusiastic crowd and kept them sated with passed hors d’oeuvres and mini samples of the newly constructed cocktails.

Myself along with City Paper’s Drew Lazor, Rob Wasserman, of Rouge Arthur Etchells from Foobooz, and super tourist transporter Mike Kate were given the extremely arduous task of judging the competition. Each cocktail was presented before us, along with its description of ingredients by its inventor and was judged on 3 categories: presentation, taste, and creativity.

All of the cocktails included the component of Kettle One vodka but in varying forms. Fresh herbs and juices, infusions, tapioca “bubbles”, fruit garnishes, spices, salts and even an oyster were shaken, stirred, poured, placed and/or strained into thoughtful and tasty, appealing concoctions.

In the end after careful judging (of course) and points correctly tallied, a “With Love” winner was announced–the Passion Fruit cocktail created by Le Meridian’s Amuse bartender Will. Will whose resume includes many of Philly’s top bars including Alma de Cuba and Xochitl combined just the right ingredients to capture the essence of Philadelphia in a glass. I’ll toast to that!

Keep your eye out for the new “With Love” cocktail, which will hopefully find a loving place on various hotel cocktail lists throughout the city. Below are pictures from the event, including up-close shots of the “contestants”.

For more scoop and pictures from the event , check out Hugh E Dillion of Philly Chit Chat and Philly Mag’s coverage here.

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