Ocean Cocktail Showdown sets final lineup of contestants
When the third annual World’s Best Ocean Cocktail Showdown returns to the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa on Sept. 24, it will be up to a pair of Maui residents to keep the title in Hawaii.
Entries were accepted earlier this year, and each of the six finalists chosen were paired with a celebrity chef and local non-profit organization. A “table-to-farm” theme will be used to pair each chef’s creations with the cocktail created by each finalist.
Maui’s Victor Mendoza was paired with Oahu-based Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe in Kaimuki and non-profit organization March of Dimes. His Farmers Punch utilizes a homemade puree of beets, pineapple, ginger root, Thai basil and fresh squeezed orange juice with Ocean vodka as the base spirit in the cocktail.
Fellow Maui resident Ka’ai Fong and chef Isaac Bancaco from Andaz Maui at Wailea will present the Keokea Park cocktail, made with Ocean vodka, fresh red bell pepper juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and Adobo Loco Mangoes Bumbye hot sauce.
Other finalists include Southern Carolina’s Rochelle Jones, who will partner with chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui, and Megan Descheine, who will join chef Sheldon Simeon in support of Maui-based non-profit Na Leo Pulama O Maui. New Jersey contestant Carlos Ruiz will work with Laulima Events & Catering’s chef Lyndon Honda and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while New York’s Christina Schurr was paired with Freshbox’s chef Will Chen and the Maui Fishpond.
According to contest organizers, the winning drink will be featured on beverage menus at the Sheraton Maui for one year, and a portion of the proceeds from every drink sold will be donated to the organization paired with the winner. In addition, $15 from every ticket sold to the event will be donated to participating non-profit organizations, with guests given the ability to pick the non-profit that they’d like to donate to.
Tickets for the World’s Best Ocean Cocktail Showdown are $60 in advance; $70 the day of the event. VIP admission, which includes early access with an open bar and light pupu, is $95 in advance and $105 at the door. Visit honoluluboxoffice.com.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.