Laslavic takes second place in Signature Event cocktail competition
Mixologist Tom Laslavic of Natalie's at Camden Harbour Inn won the second place prize at Maine Restaurant Week's Signature Event Bartender and Pastry Chef Competition, Sunday, March 10.
Laslavic claimed the competition's top honors in 2010 and 2012, and took second place in 2011. The 2013 contest was held at Prime Mercedes-Benz in Scarborough.
"We're very excited, of course," said Camden Harbour Inn General Manager Bart van der Velden. "I am really proud that Tom did something which you didn't see at the other tables in the competition...Tom really went above and beyond to make sure he did something different than everybody else."
Simply Gold — Laslavic's cocktail — is comprised of a saffron and orange blossom sharbat, Lillet gastrique, infusions of saffron and ginger, and Double Cross vodka, with a starfruit garnish.
Laslavic said he "wanted to do something cutting edge, designed with spices and beautiful to drink.
"I was looking for something different, and I found a recipe for a sharbat," said Laslavic of the Northeastern Indian-style syrup made for sweet summer drinks.
Laslavic said he chose saffron for its elegance, and to stay in keeping with the spice-centric influences of the Natalie's menu, adding a gastrique — made from spirits, sugar and vinegar — "so the vinegar balances all that sweetness."
Van der Velden said many event patrons were intrigued by the drink's golden color, which was honed during tastings with Camden Harbour Inn owner Raymond Brunyanszki and guests at Natalie's Restaurant.
"We aim to be the best," van der Velden said, adding that it is "a great honor" to work alongside Laslavic.
Portland's Zapoteca won top prize out of 16 competitors in the cocktail portion of the Signature Event with their Double Cross Mezcalita.
"Tom and I both think the winner was a truly great cocktail...and all blessings to [them], congratulations," said van der Velden.
"[T]hrough whatever we do it pushes bartenders to be their best, to really enjoy and learn more about their craft," Laslavic said of the Signature Event competition, "and I think if I have anything to do with promoting quality mixology, I'm very happy to do that."
Simply Gold is available at Natalie's at Camden Harbour Inn.
Camden Herald reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 236-8511 ext. 304 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.