Crystal Springs Mixologist Places Second in International Gin Contest

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Crystal Springs Resort’s recently appointed Director of Spirits and Mixology Carlos Ruiz represented the United States and won second place in the Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations competition, held in Ibiza, Spain earlier this month. After winning a preliminary competition held in New York City, Carlos, who is only 24 years old, battled against 7 other beverage professionals from around the world, including Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Australia and the U.K., for supremacy in crafting Mediterranean-inspired gin drinks. Each contestant presented three cocktails to a panel of judges who assessed aroma, appearance and flavor profile.

To secure the runner-up spot, Carlos took inspiration from the Garden State and the Crystal Springs Resort: he incorporated ingredients such as Jersey tomatoes, presented one of his signature cocktails from the resort’s Chef’s Garden, and also paired a cocktail with a rabbit dish developed by Restaurant Latour’s Chef de Latour Martyna Krowicka.

The first heat required bartenders to create a unique twist on a gin and tonic. Carlos’ riff, which he dubbed the Gianni, also incorporated New Jersey tomato juice and absinthe. For the second round, he prepared one of the cocktails he serves at the Chef’s Garden: Drop the Beet, which combines gin with beet juice, chickpea water, lime juice, simple syrup and sage leaf. The final round called for an egg-based cocktail that complemented a dish. Carlos presented the summery Spike of Green with sugar snap pea juice, lavender syrup, egg white, fresh lime juice, gin and tonic to pair with Rabbit Roulade with Romaine Lettuce Soup, Heirloom Carrots and Chanterelles, which was served at the event from Martyna’s recipe.

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To celebrate, the final cocktail, Spike of Green, is now available at Crystal Springs’s Chef’s Garden for a limited period of time, along with the signature Drop the Beet, both of which helped Carlos Ruiz secure second spot in the competition.

Crystal Springs Resort 3 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, NJ Website

[photo source: Crystal Springs]

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