Hahaha! This is Palmer Mason, the proprietor of Craft Accommodations! His drink, called “The Sputino,” took home first place in the People’s Choice Awards. Congrats!
So, the second annual Tomato Jam was this past Sunday and the 10 cocktails I tasted (yep, 10!) were fabulous, as was the VIP brunch by Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro of OliBea.
The event benefited Nourish Knoxville, the organization that oversees the Market Square Farmers’ Market, and all the cocktails featured produce from local farms.
I thought all the drinks would taste like Bloody Marys, but they really did not. Although they all contained some form of tomatoes, the dominant flavors in some were cucumbers and watermelon. And some had a spicy kick!
Winners of the People’s Choice awards were: Craft Accommodations’ drink called “The Sputino,” first place; The Drawing Room at The Tennessean’s “Vine-a-Min Water,” second place; and J.C. Holdway’s “Mr. Stripey and the ’Mater D’s,” third place.
Winners of the Judges’ Choice were: Sapphire’s “Mater-Melon Punch,” first place; The Drawing Room at The Tennessean, second place; and Craft Accommodations, third place. Congrats to all!
The 10 participating drink purveyors had booths lined up around the room. Folks could visit each booth and get a 4-ounce taste before moving to the next one. Ten times!
My crowd, being somewhat lazy, opted for the $75 VIP tickets, which got you a table in the upstairs loft (from which the above photo was taken), the buffet by OliBea and a server bringing the drinks to you! Much more civilized, don’t you agree?
Here’s the People’s Choice winning drink, “The Sputino,” by Craft Accommodations. That’s a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the rim! Other ingredients: Gin, red tomato, Calabrian chile, lemon juice, salted strawberry and parsley and agave syrup. It was unusual to have gin in a Bloody Mary, but we all loved it. Obviously.
All the liquor for the drinks was donated by PostModern Spirits, located in the Old City.
These good folks from Sapphire — Whitney Scott and Patrick Joyce — took home first place in the Judges’ Choice contest. Whitney devised the concoction.
It’s the one on the right. (The one on the left is called “Scrub it Out” from Chivo; the center one is “The Sputino” — after the cheese fell off the rim into the glass.)
“Mater-Melon Punch” consisted of Arancia amaro, vodka, Valencia tomato, watermelon juice, lemon juice, local honey and ginger. I liked it. But one of my tablemates said it was a little bland. “Colored water,” I believe she said. Oh, well. To each her own.
Kyle Hagerty of The Drawing Room at The Tennessean preparing “Vine-A-Min Water.”
Yum, yum. This was my favorite. (And not just because The Tennessean is a client!) It contained smoked Cherokee Purple tomato and watermelon water, jalapeño and vodka. They had me at jalapeño!
Micah Talley, left, and Jared Hendrix of J.C. Holdway preparing “Mr. Stripey and the ’Mater D’s.”
Here it is: Vodka, spicy tomato and watermelon. Delish.
J.C. Holdway proprietor Chef Joseph Lenn jumps in to help out.
Chef Matt Gallaher and Krissy Minton of Emilia prepared “The Early Girl.”
Ingredients: Tennessee heirloom tomato water, lemon, dill, vodka aquavit, Arancia amaro and olive juice.
Here are Vance McCarty and Kalin Foster of the Jig & Reel preparing Vance’s drink, “The Knights who Say ’Ni!'”
The use of whiskey as an ingredient really made it stand out from the others. In addition to the whiskey, it contained yellow chartreuse, red bell pepper, smoked tomato shrub, lemon and aquafaba.
Jesse Fox Mayshark and Casey Fox of Libacious brought “Vine and Dandy.”
“Vine and Dandy” was described as a “garden fresh gimlet.” Ingredients: cherry tomatoes, gin, a dash of peach bitters and fresh basil leaves. Loved it.
“Salad Days” contained tomato water, gin, cucumber, basil and balsamic vinegar. Interesting.
Jamie Hull of Maple Hall provided “Lady in Red.” It was gin, tomato water, lemon, simple syrup, celery bitters and egg white with a lemon zest garnish.
And, there was music! The Caring Committee provided sweet tunes throughout the event.
Let’s talk food! Up at the VIP section, a sumptuous buffet was spread out. These falling-apart-when-you-touch-them biscuits were just mouthwatering. Even if you did have to eat them with a knife and fork!
Blueberry slaw atop nectarines. Fantastic.
Here are those nectarines again — this time as centerpieces and family-style additions at every table. All the nectarines, which were at their peak of flavor, were donated by Mountain Meadows Farm. The mugs were lovely parting gifts.
Okra and grits. I love okra in all its forms. And the grits were creamy and delicious. (I don’t even want to know what was in them.)
I have no idea what all was in the potato salad but it was super spicy — and super good.
Homemade chips and caviar dip. Good Lord, it was amazing!
Pork tenderloin got raves.
Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro was downstairs shucking oysters when we caught up with him. Great job, sir!
Here are Stanton Webster and Charlotte Tolley. Stanton owns PostModern Spirits, which provided the liquor for this event. Charlotte is executive director of Nourish Knoxville.
Cliff and Jacque Hawks, fellow downtowners, were sitting with us upstairs.
Jacque’s 10 drinks. She helped me keep up with what was what! (Thanks!)
Other friendly imbibers: From left, Dawn Ford, Rosa Mar and Janet Testerman.
Gay Lyons, seated, was at our table. Her daughter, Liz Lyons, was taking pictures for VIP Magazine, which Gay edits.
This is Art Carmichael — known in our house as “the OTHER Mr. Carmichael!” He is an avid Nourish Knoxville volunteer. He and his colleagues surprised me with a sweet award — a “Steward” level membership in Nourish Knoxville because of Moxley Carmichael’s support of all things Knoxville and downtown. Thanks so much, friends!
Chef Lenn’s parents, Emily and Jerry Lenn, enjoying the afternoon.
Nourish Knoxville volunteer — and Webb School of Knoxville teacher — John Schmid with one of those biscuits. (His seemed to hold together better than mine.)
The Nectarine Queen! Shannon Meadows of Mountain Meadows farm.
This is such a fun way to spend a Sunday. (Especially when your husband is playing golf!)
But, you know what? After all those creative cocktails, what we really were hankering for was an honest-to-goodness traditional Bloody Mary!
So we headed a few blocks away to PostModern Spirits on Jackson Avenue, and that’s exactly what we got!
Jacque with the goods.
Cliff had such a hard time deciding which drink he liked the best, that he brought his voting token to PostModern Spirits with him. He was thinking about going back to cast his ballot, but he’s the only one who knows if he actually did! (Well, maybe Jacque knows!)
Thank you Mr. Carmichael!
It was really a fun event. I hope next year they continue to offer the higher priced ticket that includes brunch and expand the number of tickets they offer. The Drawing Room’s cocktail was really good!
Thanks for the great coverage and photos Cynthia! We truly appreciate your support of Nourish Knoxville!
Sorry I missed this event! You can be assured it will not happen again! If you snooze, you lose! Waited too long for the VIP level!
I was there last year & am so glad they offered the VIP experience this year. I hope they double the capacity on the VIP experience next year. This was only the second year for this event. I predict bigger crowds going forward. It’s a fun event for a good cause. Kudos to all the folks at Nourish Knoxville, to Stanton Webster at Post Modern Spirits, & to all the bars, restaurants, & cocktail caterers who brought their best efforts to the event.
What fun! How about getting us the recipe for the caviar dip, Cynthia?
Dawn: Thanks for going with me! I also hope they continue with the VIP experience. It was fun.
Kimberly: I really appreciate Nourish Knoxville! Thanks for the cool award! I will wear my lapel pin proudly!
Allyn: You MUST come next year. I’d love to hear your comments on the various entries!
Gay: I agree with all your comments. Looking forward to seeing Liz’s pictures in VIP Knoxville!
Melinda: It was very close to the Barefoot Contessa’s caviar dip. But I loved the presentation with the pile of chopped chives and a scoop of caviar on top!
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