Nothing Says Holiday Celebration Like a Caipirinha Throwdown

When you think of a bunch of the city's top chefs getting together to celebrate the holidays, what do you picture? A whole roasted pig and caipirinhas? No? Well, at Sugarcane in Midtown, Timon Balloo pulled out all the stops Monday evening to welcome his fellow toques to an evening of pork debauchery, washed down with a ton of booze. The highlight was a cocktail competition between chefs Paula DaSilva of 1500 Degrees at the Eden Roc, and Michael Bloise of SushiSamba Dromo.

Apparently each had previously boasted of their caipirinha prowess, loudly, and thus a challenge was born.

Once upon a time, Miami's chefs didn't really know each other all that well, which makes sense considering how much time they spend locked away in the kitchen. So the Chef's Club was conceived by a clever PR man, who thought that a monthly dose of camaraderie would do them all well. Do they trash talk when together? Yes, but we can't divulge overheard secrets or they won't invite us ever again.

We all brought booze to Sugarcane's affair, covering an entire table - everything from Woodford Reserve Bourbon, to a few bottles of Johnny Walker to a funky Russian Christmas beer delivered by Asia de Cuba's Sean Bernal.

DaSilva brought a big bag of chicharones to the table along with her caipirinha, a tempting bribe for the judges (myself included, easily bribed by pork anything) but then Bloise made this amazing smoky apple version, decisions...decisions...

In the end, DaSilva's traditional take on Brazil's national drink won out, and since she's Brazilian, that seems predestined. However, Bloise wins our award for Miss Congeniality for certain.

Here are some photo highlights from the showdown:

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