Two of the honourable MadeWithLove judges: Matt Jones (Maker's Mark Ambassador), Kevin Brauch (The Thirsty Traveller, Iron Chef America floor reporter)

The biggest cocktail competition in Canada came and went on Monday, March 25th, where the top sixteen finalists in Toronto competed for the MadeWithLove National Mixology Competition at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. This event originated in Old Montreal in 2009, and within three years it has gained huge popularity across Canada and has become an international phenomenon.

This year, the top local sixteen contestants created their own cocktails inspired by the neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto. Their creations are judged based on originality, presentation, and taste. With 600 people at the event, two winners were selected by the end of the night, one being the judge’s choice and another winning the public’s favourite. Both winners receiving an all expense paid, three-day trip to Mexico where they will participate in the MadeWithLove Mexico Tour in August. Luckily Nick and I from BestofToronto.net had the privilege to experience the cocktails made with much love by some of Toronto’s best mixologists.

Levon Hill and Olivia Nowark shaking up Varanasi Sunrises at Adrian Stein's booth, Mistura/Sopra Upper Lounge

Levon Hill and Olivia Nowark shaking up Varanasi Sunrises at Adrian Stein’s booth, Mistura/Sopra Upper Lounge

Pie in the Skyy: Adrian Stein (from Mistura/Sopra Upper Lounge) told us the idea behind this drink is transforming a pizza into a cocktail. The taste of the drink is refreshing, especially with the hint of basil and rosemary. It was funny to be asked if we wanted a “slice” and then being handed the Pie in the Skyy cocktail. Without a doubt, this drink resembles the neighbourhood of Little Italy.

Adrian Stein, Mistura/Sopra Upper Lounge "Pie in the Skyy":Pizza infused Skyy Vodka, tomato water, sundried tomato shrub, basil and rosemary tincture (Skyy Vodka base), fresh basil, pizza crust and parmigiano rim.

Adrian Stein, Mistura/Sopra Upper Lounge “Pie in the Skyy”:Pizza infused Skyy Vodka, tomato water, sundried tomato shrub, basil and rosemary tincture (Skyy Vodka base), fresh basil, pizza crust and parmigiano rim.

Ice, Ice Baby: From frozen carbon dioxide to liquid nitrogen, Simon Hooper of Nyood, incorporates modern cooking methods to whisk up a frozen cocktail on an iced cream cone.

Simon Hooper, Nyood "Ice Ice Baby"

Simon Hooper, Nyood “Ice Ice Baby”

The Saint’s Past: I cannot describe the amount of effort that Joe Howell (from The Spoke Club) gives into making each glass, hence I took a video. All I can say is this drink is sincerely made with love.

Over-“C”-s: Every ingredient in this drink starts with the letter C: Campari, Courvoisier Cognac, Clementine, Cream, Citrus, Chili Syrup. But that is not all, Rob Renda’s drink strikes a balance between flavour and texture: creamy, sweet, then sour, and lastly mildly spicy from the chili syrup.

Congratulations to Robin Kaufman of the Toronto Temperance Society for winning both the public and judge’s choice with his creation Apples to Ashes with Appleton rum, cedar-infused rye, cedar-smoked apple syrup, Campari, Unicum stirred and served over ice, finished off with a Unicum spritz and a rosemary spring garnish.

Sixteen finest cocktail creations from Toronto’s top sixteen bartenders, all under one roof! What a fantastic concept by Pierre-Oliver Trempe. With each contestant bringing on their A-game to demonstrate a true love’s creation, I am definitely looking forward to attending next year’s MadeWithLove National Mixology Competition.

right: Veronica Saye, The Harbord Room "Heather Jean"

right: Veronica Saye, The Harbord Room “Heather Jean”

Kevin Brauch, The Thirsty Traveler

Kevin Brauch, The Thirsty Traveler

Some notable tweets:

Also check out this great Harlem Shake remake “Toronto Bartender Shake” made by @alyssaluckhurst

TORONTO BARTENDER SHAKE from Alyssa Luckhurst on Vimeo.

For more information visit enjoymadewithlove.com

Memory Ball 2013 in support of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto
Canadian Special Events Star Awards Gala featuring Chantal Kreviazuk and Suzie McNeil

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