News-Sun, HigHwood Bloody Mary Fest, 07/21/2011


“…tie for fourth place… Pavilion of Northbrook.”

pavilion-drinkOn these sizzling days, the popular drink for adults in Highwood is not spiked lemonade, but Bloody Marys, especially at Gabe’s Backstage Lounge.

Gabe’s has just gained new fame by winning the “Best Bloody Mary” title at the city’s second annual Bloody Mary Fest, held Sunday in tents in front of City Hall.

Despite the wilting weather, the fest, sponsored by Van Gogh Blue Vodka, drew more than 5,000 people, according to promoters.

“People are ordering it more because they are curious how ours tastes like now that we’ve won the title,” said manager George Centeno, who concocted the winning entry.

“I put a lot of effort into it including some secret ingredients,” said Centeno who is also a bartender.

According to Centeno, the Bloody Mary is not really a popular cocktail these days, taking, in fact, the back seat to martinis and margaritas. “It’s a traditional cocktail,” he pointed out.

Silver Dollar Tavern of Highwood was the close second in the firce competition which had more than 20 entries. DC Sarnies of Deerfild came in third, while there was a tie for fourth place between Smoke Daddy of Chicago and Pavilion of Northbrook.
Tap House Grill, which opened in Highwood four weeks ago, took fith place.

For the second year in a row, the People’s Choice Award went to the Silver Dollar Tavern with Bridie McKenna’s in second. Third place was a tie between Gabe’s and the Wooden Nickel.

The competition was judged by a panel of local celebrities and some of Chicago area’s Bloody Mary afiionados, including Lee Litas, Sun-Times Media/Pioneer Press “Table Hopping” columnist; Steve Dolinsky of ABC7-TV’s “Hungry Hound”; Julie Chernoff, dining editor of Make It Better magazine; Aly “On the Block” Bockler from WCIU’s “You & Me This Morning”; and comedian Beth Stelling.

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