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South Shore Mix-Off a Hit at Union Fish

The deck at Union Fish Seafood and Raw Bar was bathed in the blue glow of ship’s style lanterns Friday, Sept. 21, as Bombay Sapphire Gin brought its “Iron Chef” style Mix-Off to Plymouth.

Release by Jonathan Scott

The competitive event had previously been hosted solely in big cities. The format features the area’s top bartenders in a one-on-one battle to create the best original concoctions as an accompaniment for appetizer, main course and dessert selections. Each drink featured either Bombay’s standard bearer, “Sapphire” or their first new offering in 25 years: “Bombay East”.

Hub mixologists Matt Whitney, of “Happy’s Bar and Kitchen”, and Asher Karnes, of “KO Prime” were chosen from among Boston’s best to compete for the title. Karnes and Whitney were joined, in the final round, by Dana Weinberg, who was selected by his coworkers to represent Union Fish.

Guests were treated to welcoming cocktails, a tuna ceviche appetizer and the music of Paul Horton as they were seated. Pioppi’s Package Store had been selected by Bombay to host the event and Jon Scott, the store’s representative, welcomed the attendees before turning the evening over to Alyson Carr from Bombay, who acted as emcee. Carr explained that the guests would also serve as judges and invited them to vote on the first order of business: the final round “mystery ingredient.”

CARR then explained that Chef Brandon Babiarz had created three unique dishes and that the litmus test for voting was all about how well the bartenders’ drinks paired with the three courses. Both Whitney and Karnes used cucumber as the base for their initial effort, in an attempt to match the light character of the scallop appetizer. Karnes added strawberry to his entry but it wasn’t enough to beat out Whitney, who was the early crowd favorite.

Karnes came back with an elaborate drink to pair with the Lamb Curry and Basmati Rice that served as the main course. It incorporated a number of liqueurs and was an overwhelming winner for round two. Weinberg, the Union Fish entrant joined the two Boston mixologists at the bar for the dessert round and immediately won over the hometown crowd. The secret ingredient was revealed to be apricot and the trio went to work on pairings for Babiarz’ Citrus Pound Cake with Blueberry Compote. Although voting was close, in the end it was Karnes’ bold, yet odd, take on eggless egg nog - made with Bombay East, cream and Shipyard Pumpkin Ale - that won over the crowd and handed him the Championship.

Peter Balboni was ecstatic about being chosen as host. “We’re so excited that we were given the chance to host such a great event here on the South Shore,” the Pioppi’s owner said after the Champion was crowned. “I love being able to bring events of this magnitude to Plymouth. It was a great night for everyone who attended and I really have to thank Alyson and Bombay for making us part of it, as well as the bartenders who competed.”

For her part, Nichole Crosby, General Manager of Union Fish was also happy to have been involved. “I want to thank Bombay for allowing us to be the venue for such a cool event. It’s always a pleasure working with Pioppi’s and we’re overjoyed that the Mix-Off gave some newcomers the chance to enjoy what we believe is the best spot in Plymouth, here at the Marina.”

Bombay Sapphire gin is the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world. The brand has been wholly owned by Bacardi Limited since 1998. Family-owned Bacardi was founded in Santiago de Cuba, on February 4, 1862, and employs nearly 6,000 people and sells in more than 150 countries globally. Bacardi Limited is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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