Cocktail aficionados, meet the farm-to-table set: Today our pals at Slow Food USA launch an online contest to celebrate mixologists who are advancing the organization’s mission to preserve local foods and food cultures. The Slow Food Speakeasy Ark of Taste Cocktail Competition will honor four intrepid cocktail creators, and you can vote on the contestants once per day from now until June 22.
More than 100 mixologists entered the contest by submitting cocktail recipes containing at least one ingredient from Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a catalog of over 1,100 foods facing extinction around the world. Slow Food’s extensive endangered list was developed in 1996, to highlight foods that face possible extinction within the next few generations based on ecological or cultural circumstances. Included are ingredients from Alaskan birch syrup to yellow-meated watermelon.
After what was undoubtedly an enviably fun judging experience, a panel of experts, including New York Distilling Company co-founder Allen Katz, selected 12 cocktail finalists. The judges’ decisions were based on the “slow foodiness” of each drink—how well it demonstrated a commitment to the Slow Food values of “good, clean and fair” food, as well as its success in embodying the flavor of its region of origin—and its general deliciousness, of course.
The four winners will be announced June 23, and the lucky mixologists’ prize is an all-expenses paid trip to Turin, Italy, in October to present their creations at Slow Food’s annual Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto convention. The four-day gathering brings together advocates for local food and drink culture from around the world, and is open to the public. Tickets go on sale in June at slowfoodusa.org.