The contest pitted wine marketing students from Texas Tech against their peers at Sonoma State University in California’s wine country.
A Texas Tech University duo came in third place in a wine mixology competition with Sonoma State University.
Connor Hudspeth and Kady Augustus, who are in Natalia Velikova's wine marketing class in the College of Human Sciences, created a Mendoza Margarita, a combination of tequila, Triple Sec, champagne, lemonade and a wine from the Mendoza wine region in Argentina. The judges said it was simple but full of flavor.
Hudspeth and Augustus took an existing cocktail recipe and substituted wine for the other liquors.
“We decided on adding red wine to the recipe, and it ended up giving the drink great color and more fruit taste,” Hudspeth said. “The pink lemonade also complemented the red wine and added some acidity to the drink to keep it from having too much fruit or sweetness.”
Master sommeliers judged the cocktails, which the students paired up and worked on all semester. Teams from Sonoma State took the top two spots in the competition.
“I was pleased to see that one of our cocktails made it to the top three,” Velikova said. “While I am very proud of the winning team, I am also happy all of the students enjoyed the project. It was fun, it was creative, and most importantly, it made the students think about a different character of wine – it can add flavor and a different appeal to a cocktail.”
Velikova joined with fellow wine marketing professor Liz Thach at Sonoma State to create the competition, intended to showcase wine as a fresh, fun drink that could be used creatively. It is the competition's first year. Velikova said she's not sure she'd incorporate this into future courses, but she's always looking for creative curriculum so future students will get to do fun projects like this.
“I thought the project was intriguing because it gave us a chance to act as if we were trying to make a signature drink for a restaurant, to draw people in,” Hudspeth said.
For the winning recipes and to the other entries, go to the Wine Mixology blog.