This year's Q, hosted by Food Network's Southern sweetheart Paula Deen and her handsome sons Jamie and Bobby, features mountains of barbeque paired with hand-crafted cocktails made from the Moët Hennessy portfolio of wines and spirits.
More than 40 chefs, including Paula DaSilva, Todd English, Robert Irvine, Edward Lee, Chris Lilly, Tim Love, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Al Roker (yes, the weatherman) will serve their favorite barbeque specialties while smiling for countless Instagram photos.
After-hours, the Deens will turn hosting duties over to Aussie heartthrob Curtis Stone for the Q After Dark, featuring glasses of Moët & Chandon champagne, hand-crafted cocktails, Cirque du Mansion performances, and more meat on the "barbie."
Moët Hennessy's national bartender (how's that for a great job title?), Jordan Bushell, was tasked with creating a number of premium cocktails exclusively for this event.
Bushell told Short Order that part of his inspiration for the cocktails came from the event hosts themselves.
The mixologist said that Paula Deen's baking has much in common with mixing drinks. "The pairing of flavors along with balancing sweet sour and strong are all elements that pastry chefs deal with every day. A pastry chef once told me "don't try to marry more than 3 flavors, the excess flavors will get lost and muddy the palette."
Curtis Stone, on the other hand, focuses on bright and fresh flavors, which are as important for bartenders as for chefs. According to Bushell, "showing off the beautiful flavors of something as simple as a fresh piece of fruit or a particular spice can be amazing."
We asked Bushell to share his drink recipes with us and explain each cocktail, so you can take a bit of The Q and The Q After Dark home with you, long after the party's over.
"This is a very refreshing bright drink that shows off the clean purity of a top shelf rye vodka like Belvedere. Essentially a spiked lemonade, you can easily see it fitting in on any warm afternoon on a Miami patio."
2 oz Belvedere vodka
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
Directions: Shake and strain over cubed ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
The Light and Stormy
"By replacing a dark rum with a light premium rum, you make the drink much smoother and more appealing to a wider range of people. This drink is great for a food festival, since ginger is a natural digestif and will help your body cope with all the myriad of food you will be sampling."
2 oz Ten Cane rum
4 oz ginger beer or ginger ale
1/2 oz lime juice
Directions: Build in a highball glass over cubed ice. Garnish with lime wedge.
The Grand Cran
"This is a slightly bolder version of a Cosmo which was originally invented in South Beach in 1985. This version takes the rounded and flavorful notes from Grand Marnier that everyone is familiar with and balances the sweet with some sour lime, which compliments the orange notes with the cranberry."
1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
3 oz cranberry juice
Squeeze fresh lime
Directions: Build ingredients in Boston shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with lime wedge.
The Sports Legend
"A new way to show off the versatility of Hennessy. This recipe is simple and plays to flavors that people love. The cranberry is great fit, as berries in general work really well with the rich candied fruit flavors of Hennessy. The pineapple plays with the spice notes that come from the french oak barrels that Hennessy is aged in."
1.5 oz Hennessy V.S
Equal parts pineapple and cranberry juice
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Directions: Put Ingredients in a rocks glass over ice. Combine and garnish with a lemon wedge.