2019 Marie Brizard ‘Toast to HerStory’ Cocktail Competition Finalists Announced

Posted on: Jun. 21, 2019 | | By: Beth D'Addono

How do you recognize an inspiring woman?

One way is by telling her story. And if you’re a talented creative bartender, you tell that story in a cocktail.

That’s the idea behind the 2019 Marie Brizard Toast to HerStory Cocktail Challenge. These five finalists, using Marie Brizard liqueurs, have crafted a liquid homage to a woman that has inspired them in their life and in their work.

According to esteemed judges Dale DeGroff and Julie Reiner, the chosen five mixologists are at the top of their game, beating out entries from coast to coast to vie for the grand prize – the chance to advance to the International Bartender Challenge in Bordeaux this November.

Here’s the back story on these winning bartenders to help set the stage for the big event held 10:30 A.M. July 17th at Royal Sonesta Hotel during Tales of the Cocktail.


Ulises K. Martinez

Bartending: 7 years

Bar(s): Castro, past bars include Emporium Arcade Bar and Mi Tocaya Antojeria

Home: Chicago, IL by way of Mexico City, MX

What’s your style?
Modern day riffs on vintage classics, specifically with those of Latino origins.

I experiment with unique ingredients to develop flavors that people will love, the more eclectic the better. I love to challenge cocktail enthusiasts to say “I’ve never had this before!”

What do you LOVE about your job?
I love the freedom it allows me to play with eclectic Mexican ingredients and incorporate my heritage into my cocktails.

Who was the inspiration for your drink and what is its flavor profile?
My drink is La Jefa (the chief) – a way for me to tip my hat to Mi Tocaya chef Diana Davila. She is definitely La Jefa of Mi Tocaya but is also much more than that. She has been a great source of inspiration for me. She has helped develop my palate for the flavor wheel tremendously.

I used Marie Brizard Pear William #14 as a base. The sweet subtle pear flavor enhanced the cocktail in the same way chef Davila enhances our work space with positivity and confidence. Then Mezcal brought a powerful force to the flavor profile, the way chef Diana is a trailblazing force wherever she is!

La Jefe

La Jefa

  • 1oz Marie Brizard Pear William
  • 1oz Del Maguey Vida
  • .5oz Lemon Juice
  • .75oz Honey
  • Muddled Kiwi

Directions: Fine Strained into a coupe

Glass/Garnish: Up in a coupe, garnished with dehydrated lime.


Jena Lane Ellenwood

Bartending 14 years

Bar(s): Dear Irving Gramercy, Hunky Dory Crown Heights, Sparrow Tavern Astoria

Home: Astoria, NYC by way of Daytona Beach, FL

What’s your style?
I approach the bar the way I approach food. I’m always thinking of how I want to cook and eat a dish and I deconstruct drinks the same way. I like to walk through the Farmer’s Market and see what’s fresh and what could be fun to try and create with.

What do you LOVE about your job?
The stories, the creativity, the people I meet. I love how our community is so huge and so small all at once and how we all make each other feel at home. I love learning about the makers, and the history, and being a part of it all.

Who was the inspiration for your drink – flavor profile?
My friend’s grandmother Mary Nomura. During WWII she was put in the Manzanar internment camp where she became known as the Songbird of Manzanar for her beautiful voice. I have long admired her and was honored when her granddaughters shared a jar of her preserved ume plums with me.

Marie Brizard Yuzu liqueur made me think of those plums – citrus sweet and pickley at the same time. I chose Amass gin from L.A. added La Quintinye Blanc vermouth for botanical notes, umebsohi fruit vinegar for salinity and ginger bitters for a little heat.


The Songbird of Manzanar

  • 3 dashes ginger bitters (Hella Bitters)
  • 3 drops umeboshi plum vinegar (EdenSoy)
  • 1oz Marie Brizard Yuzu
  • 1.5oz Amas gin
  • .5oz Quintinye Blanc Vermouth Roya

Directions: Combine all ingredients in mixing glass, stir. Strain into chilled Nick&Nora.

Glass/Garnish: Nick and Nora glass, garnished with shisho leaf and an ume plum.


Daniel Messina

Bartending: 5 years

Home: Orlando, FL by way of New Jersey

Bar(s): The Robinson Cocktail Room, past bars include Domu and The Nest.

What’s your style?
I’d say classic driven with a nod to tropical.

What do you LOVE about your job?
I love coming up with cocktails that guests order again and again.

Who was the inspiration for your drink and what is the flavor profile?
My inspiration for Lucy’s Swizzle was Lucille Ball, a pioneer in comedy whose sense of humor stands the test of time. This drink is inspired by the famous and funny chocolate factory scene. I love using Marie Brizard because no matter what flavor it says on the bottle that is 100 percent what you are going to get! For my cocktail I chose white creme de cacao and crème de Banane liqueur as the base flavors.


Lucy’s Swizzle

  • 1.5 oz angostura 7 year rum
  • .5 Marie Brizard banana
  • .5 Marie Brizard white creme de cacao
  • .5 cinnamon cane syrup
  • .75 lime juice

Directions: Add all ingredients to a Collins or Pilsner glass top with crushed ice and swizzle. Once cold and the glass is frosted add about 7 dashes of angostura bitters. Then top off with more crushed ice to create a mound on top

Glass/Garnish: The glass is a cross between a foot Pilsner and a hurricane glass. Garnished with a mint sprig and a spritz of equal parts Marie Brizard white creme de cacao and crème de Banane liqueur.


Chase Wilhelmsen

Bartending 17 years

Home: Kihei, Maui, HI

Bar(s): Andaz Maui, past bar Spago, Four Seasons Maui

What’s your style?
It’s fluid because we have four bars at the resort ranging from formal fine dining to tropical on the beach.

What do you LOVE about your job?
I love meeting people from all over the country. I’m always creating connections and helping our guests have a memorable experience. I love crafting cocktails!

Who was the inspiration for your drink and what is the flavor profile?
Lady Gaga and her song Born This Way is my inspiration. She is bold and steadfast in her artistry. Gaga is all about being yourself and never letting anyone say you aren’t good enough. She inspires me to fight for what I want and never give up in life and in work.

I use Marie Brizard orange Curaçao in our Mai Tai every day, but it’s a side note. In this drink I wanted it to be the star of the show. The name Born This Way is also a reference to mixology history since cocktails started as punch and this is a punch style drink. Flavors include passion fruit, hibiscus tea infused local rum, sherry, soda water for bubbles and lime sherbet to add depth to the syrup.


Born This Way

  • 1 oz Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao No. 2
  • 1 oz Hibiscus tea infused Kohana Kea Agricole rhum*
  • 1 oz fino sherry
  • ¾ oz Passion fruit lime sherbet*
  • 1 oz Club soda

Directions: Combine all ingredients except for club soda in the shaker. Hard shake. Top with club soda. Fine strain and serve up.rn

*Hibiscus Tea rum- infuse 1 hibiscus tea bag in 6 oz. Of Kohana Kea rhum for 10 minutes.

*passion fruit lime sherbet- combine passion fruit puree with a lime sherbet 2:1 ratio

Glass/Garnish: A Nick and Nora with a long lime twist and a little lime oil on the rim.


Jessica Rapuano

Home: NYC

Bartening 12 years

Bar(s): Clover Club, Brooklyn and Dear Irving Gramercy

What’s your style?
I love the creativity that bartending allows. I’ve always been fascinated by the variety of modifiers and the endless possibilities of ingredients that can go into a drink.

What do you LOVE about your job?
I love delighting patrons with drinks! Whether it’s something off the menu, or something bespoke, I love the satisfaction of giving a guest a product that I can be proud of.

Who was the inspiration for your drink and what is the flavor profile?
Besides Coco Chanel, I modeled my drink after The Rose, a cocktail popular in 1920s Paris. Marie Brizard raspberry liqueur made a great substitute for the raspberry syrup. Chanel’s signature No. 5 scent features a floral bouquet, of which rose is one pertinent element. I added some Dorothy Parker gin into the mix because it’s named for another strong woman. Lastly, I had to finish with a spritz of rosewater from a perfume bottle, because the cocktail wouldn’t be complete otherwise.


La Mademoiselle No. 5

  • 1 oz Marie Brizard Raspberry
  • 1 oz Dolin dry vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Dorothy Parker gin
  • 0.5 Kirschwasser
  • Barspoon maraschino liqueur (luxardo)

Directions: Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Express grapefruit peel over top of drink, and finish with a spritz of rosewater over top.

Up in a coupe, garnished with grapefruit oil and rosewater. Simple and classic, just like Coco.


Be sure to purchase your Tasting Room Wristband to see this competition LIVE during Tales of the Cocktail 2019 Wednesday, July 17th, 10:30 AM!

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