Downtown enjoys chilled Martini Competition
Patrons of the third annual Best Downtown Martini Competition were greeted to a chilled atmosphere Saturday as temperatures dipped into the 40s, yet the sellout crowd of 1,000 people bundled up and braved the elements as they hopped from bar to bar by trolley, taxi, limousine, and on foot.
Helen Ramey, events coordinator for the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency, pushed the event as a way to promote downtown businesses.
“It’s a great way of bringing awareness to the downtown area. The Martini Competition has always been a sellout,” Ramey said.
Every one of the $20 tickets were sold by 2:30 p.m. Friday, the fastest sellout in its three-year existence.
Each ticket-holder acted as a member of a quasi-jury, tasting and rating the best martinis downtown lounges and bars had to offer in three categories.
A $500 prize will be given to the first place winner in the classic, exotic, and dessert martini categories. Winners will be announced today.
Nico Bogert, co-owner of the Monkey Bar, said he is hoping to improve on the second place his bar received last year for the classic martini category.
“We’re hoping for first this year,” Bogert said.
Bogert and co-owner Claudia Garcia entered their “Monkey Bash” martini — made with mango vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and rum — in the exotic category, and their “Monkey Coffeetini” was a late entrant in the dessert competition.
Garcia said the event helps keep people in the Cape.
“We just want to help people spend money here in Cape Coral,” she said.
One crowd favorite was the “Baked Apple” martini offered by Ralph’s Place.
“It was pretty tasty,” Cape resident Amy McCabe said as she exited Ralph’s.
Ramey stressed the event was about indulging in fun, not excess.
“This is not a drinking competition, it’s a martini tasting event,” she said.