Through a competition a couple months ago, owners of Rex’s Rendezvous will be able to use their experience with the contest and its reward to benefit the Warsaw bar.
Rex’s Rendezvous co-owner Crystal Watters, daughter of co-owner Robin Watters, participated in the Savage and Cooke Cocktail Contest a few months ago.
The contest was brought to Crystal’s attention by Johnson Brothers of Indiana sales representative Seth Conklin.
At first, Crystal didn’t know if she had time for the contest and didn’t want to be bothered by it. She realized the experience of it would be great for her, as well as Rex’s, and decided to compete in the contest.
With the knowledge the prize would be a trip to Napa Valley, Calif., she could transfer that trip to her parents and enjoy themselves.
Crystal said she jumped into the competition pretty late. The actual working period for the recipes for the cocktails was about six weeks. When Crystal decided to do the competition, she had about a week to get everything submitted. She showed up with two grocery bags full of things from her garden and started playing around with things and seeing what jumped out at her as something as a pleasant combo. Crystal said she shared her concoctions around the bar and made customers taste them in order to get feedback.
Crystal submitted her cocktails on June 30 and got the initial email about her being one of the winners Aug. 7.
There were over 2,000 entries and 10 people were picked as having winning cocktails, she said. People were supposed to submit two cocktails. Some of those picked had only one of their cocktails picked, but Crystal had both of her cocktails picked, which were named Second Summer and Cassiopeia’s Chair.
Crystal said the inspiration for the cocktails were inspired by the experiences of an American summer. She wanted to showcase Savage and Cooke’s bourbon as a beautiful spring summer selection. Second Summer is meant to invoke the feelings of sitting on a patio with friends enjoying something light and refreshing while taking in the summer sun. Cassiopeia’s Chair is inspired by the feeling of siting next to a summer bonfire and gazing at the stars. It showcases beautiful seasonal ingredients and is named after one of the most prominent constellations in the North American summer sky. Second Summer includes Savage and Cooke’s Second Glance, while Cassiopeia’s Chair includes The Burning Chair.
On Oct. 11, Crystal’s parents are going to fly out to Napa Valley, and they’re going to spend three days at the Savage and Cooke Distillery. They’re going to get information about the brand and Savage and Cooke products. There will be workshops Robin will be able to participate in, where they’ll get to experience Savage and Cooke’s bourbon and taste the experiments of other bartenders. Robin said he hopes he will be able to bring in new cocktails to Rex’s.
Crystal said she’s always been an inventor as far as creating different cocktails and playing around with unusual flavors and showcasing different liquors in different ways and Savage and Cooke Distillery was a “super interesting product.”
This is the first time Crystal has turned in something that was a creation of her own. She said she has participated in in-person bar competitions before, though.
She said the benefits of the competition was getting over the initial hurdle of showing her creations to people she didn’t know and having her name on it.
Doing the competition, Crystal hopes will be an inspiration to the people she works with so they know they can explore with alcohol and flavor and create things that may be fun and interesting.