Two Maui Finalists to Compete in World’s Best OCEAN Vodka Showdown
The third annual World’s Best OCEAN Vodka Showdown will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
The six finalists have been selected from the OCEAN Vodka’s nationwide recipe contest, and the finalists will go head-to-head at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s Anuenue Lawn.
Two Maui contestants and four contestants from the mainland have each been paired with a celebrity chef and a local non-profit organization to form six teams.
Following the theme of table-to-farm, each chef will create a dish to pair with the finalist’s cocktail.
Guests and a panel of judges will then vote on their favorite cocktail as well as the best food pairing, and the winning cocktail recipe will be named World’s Best OCEAN Cocktail.
The winning cocktail will also be featured on the beverage menus at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa for one year, with a portion of proceeds from the sale of the cocktail being donated to the paired non-profit organization.
Participating celebrity chefs include Chef Isaac Bancaco from Andaz Maui; Chef Lyndon Honda of Laulima Events & Catering; Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Café in Kaimuki, O’‘ahu; Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof in Kahului, Maui; and Chef Will Chen from freshBOX in Mānoa, O‘ahu.
“This year’s OCEAN Showdown promises to blend the best of what the culinary experience has to offer; craft cocktails and top-notch food pairings,” said Shonna Pinheiro Baltar, director of marketing for OCEAN Vodka. “Every year the contestants submit cocktail creations that showcase their creativity and discerning palates, and this year the submissions were exceptional!”
Finalist cocktails were selected based on taste, presentation, use of fresh ingredients and creativity. The teams are:
Maui contestant Victor Mendoza will be paired with Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Café in Kaimuki, O‘ahu and non-profit organization March of Dimes. Farmers Punch, submitted by Mendoza, mixes a homemade purée of beets, pineapple, ginger root, Thai basil, and fresh-squeezed orange juice with OCEAN Vodka.
Maui contestant Ka‘ai Fong will be paired with Chef Isaac Bancaco from Andaz Maui at Wailea and non-profit organization Imua Family Services. Fong’s Kēōkea Park cocktail includes OCEAN Vodka, fresh red bell pepper juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and Adobo Loco Mangoes Bumbye Syrup.
South Carolina contestant Rochelle Jones will be paired with Chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui and non-profit organization Maui Huliau Foundation. Jones’ cocktail Tidal Dreams features OCEAN Vodka, fresh peach puree, ripe avocado, ginger root and fresh lemongrass.
New Jersey contestant Carlos Ruiz will be paired with Chef Lyndon Honda of Laulima Events & Catering in Maui and non-profit Ocean Defender Hawai‘i. What’s Up Doc? is Ruiz’ cocktail, which features a mix of fresh carrot juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, dill and OCEAN Vodka.
South Carolina contestant Megan Deschaine will paired with Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof in Kahului, Maui and non-profit Nā Leo Pūlama O Maui. Deschaine’s cocktail is called Sweet Caroline and includes OCEAN Vodka, dry vermouth, peach & bell pepper puree, Verjus and honey syrup.
New York contestant Christina Schurr paired with Chef Will Chen from freshBOX in Mānoa, O’ahu and non-profit Maui Fishpond (‘Ao‘ao O Na Loko I‘a O Maui). Schurr’s entry, called Pineapple Plum Spritzer, incorporates ripe red plum, fresh pineapple, basil, seltzer and OCEAN Vodka.
Join Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and OCEAN Organic Vodka for an evening of delectable bites paired with refreshing cocktails!
Tickets for the World’s Best OCEAN Cocktail Showdown are $60 general admission pre-sale, $70 general admission day of.
VIP tickets, which include access to the event one hour early with open bar and light pupus, are available pre-sale for $95 and on the day of the event for $105.
$15 from every ticket sold will be donated to the participating charities.
To purchase tickets, visit here.