Results of the third annual “Official Drink of Santa Barbara” cocktail competition are in, and the winner is “Sticky Fingers” by The Lark. “Sticky Fingers” was designated Santa Barbara’s official signature drink of 2019 at a finale judging event hosted by Visit Santa Barbara Thursday, June 20, at El Paseo Mexican Restaurant.
The cocktail will be on the menu at The Lark (an Acme Hospitality restaurant) for the remainder of the year. Local restaurants, bars and lounges were invited to develop a new, unique signature mixed drink that celebrates the distinctive attributes of Santa Barbara. The creation had to include a spirit from Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, a locally owned small-scale craft distillery located in the Funk Zone. Contestants were encouraged to use at least one local ingredient and take inspiration from Santa Barbara’s landscapes, architectural landmarks and culinary scene.
“Sticky Fingers” is bright and herbal with a slight eucalyptus flavor. The cocktail uses locally sourced ingredients, from the base spirit, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits Gin to San Marcos Farms avocado blossom honey. The palate of the cocktail reflects juniper from Cutler’s Gin, and citrus and mint notes with a slight smoked agave background from the mezcal. Amaro Meletti extends the honeyed notes but adds a balance of bitterness and herb. The rich and floral San Marcos Farms avocado blossom honey balances the bright acid of the lemon, allowing a harmonious expression of Santa Barbara terroir.
Fourteen businesses entered the initial contest and the public had the opportunity to cast a vote for their top pick online, which narrowed the pool to five finalists: “Sticky Fingers” by The Lark, “The Glenn Annie” by Angel Oak at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, “Lucky Me” by Convivo at Santa Barbara Inn, “Eucalyptus Lane” by Finch & Fork at the Kimpton Canary Hotel, and “The Queen’s Rose” by Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen. To view descriptions of the five cocktails featured in the competition, visit tinyurl.com/sbdrink
The competition also featured a People’s Choice award, which went to Finch & Fork for their “Eucalyptus Lane” cocktail.
Television personality and Travelzoo Senior Editor Gabe Saglie emceed the event, and “Sticky Fingers” was declared the winner by a panel of judges including senior reporter for KEYT John Palminteri, freelance writer and editor Hana-Lee Sedgwick, senior editor for the Santa Barbara Independent Matt Kettmann, and “2018 Official Drink of Santa Barbara” winner and mixologist of Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara Tyler Ondatje. The Santa Barbara Independent also held a contest in which the public was invited to enter to win the chance to serve as a judge at the live event. More than two dozen would-be judges sent in entries, and Santa Barbara food and drink enthusiast Sarah Chhum was selected as the final judge.
In addition to having the exclusive rights to sell the “2019 Official Drink of Santa Barbara,” The Lark received prizes including a suite of promotional exposure through Visit Santa Barbara’s official destination marketing channels, gift basket full of local goodies from Santa Barbara Gift Baskets and Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, as well as an official certificate from City of Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo.
Santa Barbara Independent was the presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors for the “2019 Official Drink of Santa Barbara” competition included El Paseo Mexican Restaurant, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Sunstone Vineyard and Winery, and Bright Event Rentals.
The winning drink “Sticky Fingers.” Photo courtesy of The Lark