On September 19, San Francisco will begin celebrating its fifth annual cocktail week (Seattle’s debuts this year), but it’s the first time the schedule will include Best of the West, a cocktail challenge that showcases bar talents from up and down the left coast.
“It’s more of a challenge than a competition,” says organizer Chelsea Bahr, who helped select the seven participants (the other tenders will be traveling from San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Portland, and Victoria, BC). And Lumsden is happy about that. “The tone of the more competitive-natured events can be kinda cold and who’s who-y,” he says. But he sees Best of the West as “more of a let’s-all-do-what-we-do-and-learn-cool-stuff-from-each-other kind of thing.”
This week, the cocktail crafters will be assigned a base spirit and a secret ingredient, which they must use to create a drink that represents their hometown. The resultant concoctions will be served to 300 guests on Thursday, September 22 at San Fran’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
So how will Lumsden represent Seattle? Hard to say until he’s given his ingredient marching orders, however: “I’ll probably shoot for something that expresses how sad the Mariners make us.”