When I arrived a bit early at YUL Montreal Trudeau International Airport recently to pick up family members, I pulled into the Doubletree by Hilton Montreal Airport unaware that I would be crossing paths with somewhat of a celebrity. Behind the bar was Kevin Mazzo, who it turns out is one of the regional finalists in one of the most extravagant mixology competitions in Canada, called Made With Love. The 11th edition takes place on Nov. 25 at the majestic L’Olympia de Montréal, where the city’s bartenders will gather to illuminate Montreal’s cocktail culture.
The challenge for competitors is to present an exclusive creation to an eager crowd and a panel of experts. Mazzo is one of 20 in the running. The initial round had 35 mixologists. The two crowned winners of each category, Public’s Choice and Judges’ Choice, will represent Montreal at the National Finals next spring. Not only will the finalists try to win the coveted title of Made With Love’s best bartender in the country, but 14 trips to one of the competition’s affiliated distilleries are also up for grabs.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Mazzo told me about the competition. “We had four minutes to come up with a creation with a movie theme. Mine was a ‘Ghostbuster.’ Now I hope to continue my luck in a few weeks.”
While I am not much of a drinker, I put my faith in Kevin and he surprised me with something called the Tiki Semaphore (the latter word coming from the hotel’s popular in-house restaurant) made with Trois-Rivières Rum, Galliano, Almond syrup, Ginger syrup, pineapple and lime juice. His boss Sid Alami and Quint Hotels chief Aldo Carlucci are quite proud of him.
VIENNESE BALL: The Alexander von Humboldt International School in Baie D’Urfé will be one of the beneficiaries again of the annual Viennese Ball of Montreal, celebrating the splendor of Vienna’s ball tradition with a glorious evening of lively music and dance, elegant atmosphere and a magical debutante performance. It will take place on Saturday Nov. 16 at the Hotel Marriott Château Champlain under the distinguished patronage and in the presence of the Austrian Ambassador to Canada, Stefan Pehringer and Mrs. Debra Jean Pehringer. Head table guests will enter the ball room to the tune of the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss Sr. Soprano from Opera McGill Elisabeth Boudreault, and alumnus, baritone Jean-Philippe McLish of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opera de Montreal will sing the national anthems and an aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the opera that was performed 150 years ago! A five-course gourmet, Viennese-inspired meal will be accompanied by strolling musicians playing Viennese tunes for the diners.
“I always try to convince students in grades 10, 11 and 12 at the beginning of each school year to participate,” says AVH Board Member Birgit Klema Erdan. “We have many parents from the school who have attended the ball regularly.”Info: www.balviennoisdemontreal.org
COHEN CHATTER: Quint Hotels has four properties under its umbrella: the DoubleTree by Hilton Montreal Airport in Dorval, the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites across the street; and The Quality Inn & Suites and The Best Western Plus in Brossard. The company will soon begin construction on an airport Hyatt. Stay tuned for more… Christos Sourligas, a multiple award-winning filmmaker, actor, writer, director, producer, storyteller,will sign copies of his newly published My Big Fat Greek Cookbook this Sat. Nov. 9 from Noon to 4 pm at Chapters in Pointe Claire…The Montreal Center for Anxiety and Depression (located in the Brunswick Medical Center) is opening their doors for their annual free lecture series on Wed. Nov. 20 at 6:45 p.m. Topics will include: Anxiety, Combating Critical thoughts, Emotional Health, Dangers of Caretaking, You must register: 514-777-4530