Thursday, October 4, 2012

Grey Goose and SAVEUR Magazine's Punch Wars

Grey Goose
Saveur Magazine
For almost a month now, Grey Goose Vodka and SAVEUR Magazine have teamed up to bring the Punch Wars; an eight-city tour similar to the "Iron Chef" competition, where 10 talented mixologists from each city compete against each other to see which one can create the most amazing punch using the full Grey Goose Vodka portfolio.  For each "war", mixologists have to abide by a set of rules and are rated by a panel of three judges on areas such as taste, presentation, use of ingredients, suggestion of a food pairing and a very interesting Skills Challenge involving their cutting skills. Punch Wars have already taken place in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington D.C., Denver and Atlanta; and just this Tuesday, October 2nd, Miami's top mixologists battled it out at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach for a chance at the Final Showdown.

The Pantry

Eddie Acevedo, Maria Salas, Jason
Slicing up the cucumbers
The three judges for the Punch Wars in Miami were Grey Goose Brand Master Jason Druckenmiller, Eddie Acevedo from 50 Eggs Inc., and Yours Truly, representing Adventures of the Foodaholic. (Left) The showdown was done in two rounds, with five competitors participating in each round. They had a total of 15 minutes to complete their Skills Challenge as well as their original punch, and then serve two glasses - one for the photographer and one for the judges. It was an incredibly fun night, full of delicious bites, unadulterated excitement  and invigorating cocktails. But don't believe me, check out the pictures for yourself.

The Contestants:

Wowing us with his Miami Cherry Dream Time, Rob Husted from Off The Hookah in West Palm Beach. (Left) Very persuading with his Goosey Goosey Persuasion was Josh Gates from Fuku in West Palm Beach. (Right)

Celebrating the end of Summer and beginning of Fall was the Citrus Harvest Punch, created by Issac Grillo from Haven. (Left) Kicking things up a notch with his Ginger Cherry Punch was Philip Khanderish from Alembiq Consulting. (Right)

Bringing a bit of Waikiki to the mix was the Paradise Punch by Christine Maffei from Trump Golf Resort in Doral. (Left) Josh Gonzalez from Toscana Divino (Right) spiced up the night with an Asian flair and his Eastern Kick.

What's a BBQ without a great cocktail to accompany it was the inspiration behind LIV's mixologist, Erik Tirum's punch Sauced. (Left)  Xain Coslow, also from Toscana Divino, gave us his rendition of an Italian concoction and named it Kasparek. (Right)

Cesar Romero from Cooper Avenue in Miami Beach figured he'd honor the change of seasons  with The Goose Goes to the South. (Left) Rob Ferraro from The Dutch treated us to a spicy Escobar. Why the name? Why not? It's Miami. (Right)

Ready, Set, Go

Grey Goose Brand Master Jason Druckenmiller started off the Punch Wars and the contestants raced to The Pantry to get all of their ingredients.

I really enjoyed the featured cocktail of the night. The crowd anxiously awaited while the mixologists worked their magic.

The talent was on fire!

It was so tough to choose the winners. All the mixologists did a spectacular job creating original, great tasting punches, and showing off their cutting skills.

Jessica Eassa Burke from SAVEUR Magazine was the timekeeper and let the contestants know how much time they had left to prepare their drinks. The variety and creativity in taste, presentation, and use of ingredients was impressive.

Beautiful Presentation

It was a lot of fun to see how imaginative the contestants became. They were extremely knowledgeable and were able to come up with great creations on the spur of the moment.

The audience cheered the contestants as they sampled all the cocktails and delicious light bites were passed around.

Getting ready to announce the winners

Third Place Winner:
Philip Khanderish
Second Place Winner:
Rob Ferraro
And the winners were.... Third Place:  Philip Khanderish from Alembiq Consulting. Second Place:  Rob Ferraro from The Dutch. 

The First Place winner and the one who will go on to compete in the Final Showdown was Josh Gates from Fuku in West Palm Beach with Goosey Goosey Persuasion.

First Place Winner: Josh Gates

The Punch Wars will have one more stop in Los Angeles on October 8th before heading back to Miami on October 16th for the Final Showdown. All the first place winners from the participating cities will compete for the title of Punch Wars Master and for the Grand Prize: An all  expense paid one week trip to the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well as the opportunity for a position with SAVEUR magazine as a contributing Drink Editor. Don't miss out on the fun that will take place in the Perry Hotel Rooftop, located at 2377 Collins Avenue, on October 16th at 7:30 p.m. If you'd like to attend, send an email to  with all your information and the event date.



  1. what were the 8 cities? i only see 6 + miami.

    1. Hi there! The eight cities were Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami and L.A. I think you may have missed L.A. when counting them on my post because it was the last one, occurring after the Miami competition, and mentioned further down in the article. Thanks for your comment!