081314 cocktail mixoff4Bartenders, preparing to compete at Taste Tuesday night. Chris Paseka, below, emceed the well-attended event. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


081314 cocktail mixoff3A feeling of autumn was in the air Tuesday night at Taste in Red Bank.

A Laird’s Applejack mix-off, a continuation of Cocktail Week, was in full swing, featuring nine enthusiastically adept bartenders and their apple-inspired concoctions.

Dressing up table displays with brightly colored fall motifs, the imaginative bartenders mixed cinnamon apple margaritas – and muddled everything from sage to peaches – while dipping the rims of tiny shot glasses in cinnamon sugar.

081314 cocktail mixoffCocktail tasters line up to sip the applejack creations. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

The array included herb-infused, fancy ingredient potions with Chambord and Fernet Branca, and a cocktail influenced with peach tea.

Master of ceremonies Chris Paseka of  Sugarush cupcakes on East Front Street used humor while trying to organize the attendees and get them sipping.

A charitable donation of $5 collected at the door from each attendee was donated to Lunch Break.

Cocktail Week festivities continue Thursday with “Happier Hour,” sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka at Pazzo from 4 to 10 p.m.; a mixology class at red sponsored by Zyr Vodka from 7 to 10; and Sailor Rum Dessert Cocktails – featuring a $10 build-your-own chocolate fondue – at the Melting Pot from 5 to 10.

For more scheduling information click here.