Elixir’s H. Joseph Ehrmann Wins Top Cocktail Award

Pamplemousse au Poivre
Pamplemousse au Poivre

Photo Credit: Allison Webber

A long-term fixture on the San Francisco cocktail scene, H. Joseph Ehrmann has proved his libation prowess yet again. The owner of beloved Mission watering hole, Elixir, has created the 2018 Cocktail of the Year—a title given at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Bartenders from all over the globe came together to compete at the event, and for the first time, in its 18 years, founder Anthony Dias Blue decided to award one beverage the prize of Cocktail of the Year. Mixologists, included the cocktail historian David Wondrich, and Beam Suntory’s portfolio ambassador Robert Gonzalez, submitted cocktail recipes.

Mixing cocktails at the competition
Mixing cocktails at the competition

Photo Credit: Nikki Richter

Each entry had to include Banhez Mezcal, a spirit that won best in class medals at last year’s competition. “Reflecting an exponentially increasing presence of mezcal-based cocktails on menus nationwide, we invited some of the world’s leading bar professionals to craft an original recipe using Banhez,” Dias Blue explained. The day of the competition, mixologists made four drinks that were blind-judged by an all-star panel including Tony-Abou Ganim, Jack Robertiello, and Kent Bearden.

H. Joseph Ehrmann
H. Joseph Ehrmann

Photo Credit: Allison Webber

Ehrmann’s drink, the Pamplemousse au Poivre, took home the top prize. He combined the subtle smokiness of mezcal with fresh citrus and pink peppercorns. “I’ve been a big fan of mezcal for well over a decade now. I have been mixing with it since before many knew what it was, and since the beginning one of my favorite flavors to pair with it is grapefruit,” Ehrmann told Haute Living. “It pairs so beautifully with the fruitiness found in so many different agave varietals as well as with smoke (a challenging thing to pair with).”

The winning libation
The winning libation

Photo Credit: Allison Webber

Ten years ago, bartenders didn’t have access to the high-quality liqueurs, bitters, and other modifying agents that are available today.  Also not available? The luxury quality mezcals that are now on the market. Ehrmann’s knowledge of the ingredients out there made his drink stand out amongst the rest. “I wanted to make something that played on the familiar was easy and quick for bartenders to get over the bar, and would get the drinker to order more than one. It’s easy and tasty, yet there’s still some complexity and body to it to make it unique. As a bar owner looking to sell drinks, that’s a magic formula.”

Below, is Ehrmann’s winning recipe.

Pamplemousse au Poivre
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, Proprietor of Elixir + Cocktail Ambassadors 

2 oz mezcal 
1 oz Giffard Pamplemousse Rose (pink grapefruit) liqueur
.5 oz Marie Brizard Poivre de Sichuan (Sichuan pepper) liqueur 
.5 oz lemon juice
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice, then strain into a coupe. Garnish rim with grapefruit peel cone filled with pink peppercorns.

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