Each year, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival attracts the best chefs and most creative bartenders from around the world, allowing attendees the opportunity to sample fantastic food and drinks at the dozens of parties and events happening during the weekend.
Last night, two of the festival's marquee events — Burger Bash and Art of Tiki — crowned its winners.
The aroma of grilled meat wafted through the night air as thousands of guests downed burgers and beer at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash.
Restaurants from across the nation participated in Burger Bash, including New York City's Butter and Morimoto. Miami participants included Sakaya Kitchen, Pincho, Fooq's, and Tucker Duke's.
After taking a break the past two years, Rachael Ray returned to host Burger Bash, where she presented three prizes for burgers chosen attendees and a panel of judges.
New York City's Butter won the coveted Heineken Light People's Choice Award. Food Network celebrity and Butter executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli jumped every time someone voted for her succulent bone marrow burger. She also took selfies with the crowd and hugged burger fans who stopped to say hello.
Weston's Kewpee Hamburgers, from Lansing, Michigan, received the Schweid & Sons' Very Best Burger Award, and Hugh Baby's BBQ & Burger Shop from Nashville was named Red Robin's Best of the Bash.
At Art of Tiki, bartenders from the top tiki bars across the nation created their versions of classic tiki drinks.
Criteria for the rum-based libations included a balance of flavors and presentation — an essential part of a tiki cocktail. The bartenders presented the potent potables in creative tiki mugs garnished with tropical flowers and skulls.
Once again, Miami dominated the evening of revelry and cocktails.
The team from Spanglish won the Judge's Choice Award for its Me Love You Long Thai, a cocktail served in a panda-shaped mug.
The bar team from the Sylvester won the People's Choice Award for its Mayahuel's Colada, complete with a backstory of a beautiful young goddess who angered her abuela.
The two winners then competed in a runoff that tasked them with creating a cocktail on the fly. Spanglish was named the overall tiki victor.
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