Local restaurant the 11th Mile will be hosting its first-ever Cocktail Throwdown on Tuesday, Nov. 7. This event, the “Tacos & Tequila Throwdown,” will be a bartending competition with soft tacos accompanying the drinks.
Bartenders Travis Perry and Kyle MacNevin from 11th Mile, Jenn Atkinson from James Joyce Pub, and Rob Beare from 540 Kitchen & Bar will prepare unique tequila-based cocktails and face-off against each other. The winner will be decided by the attendees that same night.
“I think this is a way to elevate us all, by bringing guest bartenders in and working together. It’s fun for us, it’s fun for our guests and I think it’s really inspirational for our bartenders,” said Jennie Wilson, 11th Mile co-owner.
The owners of the recently-opened restaurant, located in downtown Fredericton, think an event like this will contribute to the city’s restaurant and cocktail culture. Wilson said they drew inspiration from similar events hosted by Momofuku in Toronto.
“They do fun throwdowns or friendly competitions where they invite other restaurants in and they will collaborate on something,” she said.
When her husband and co-restaurateur, Peter Tompkins, was head chef at Noorden, he would get invited to these events and join in to create innovative dishes with chefs from other establishments.
“My husband is obsessed with tacos; our house parties often feature tacos. I love tequila. We just thought it would be a fun kickoff and explore what we can do with tacos, what kind of ingredients we can get here…that kind of thing,” she said.
For their first “Tacos & Tequila Throwdown” event, they are stepping away from the flour vs. corn tortilla debate and will only be offering “soft” [tortilla] tacos.
“You could debate all day in terms of what a tortilla should be, so we’re going to stay away from that expectation of it being traditional; it’s a fun take on tacos.” Wilson said she wouldn’t be surprised if her husband decided to add some Indonesian spices as a special ingredient.
She also added that she “wouldn’t like anyone to think that it’s a high-brow cocktail situation where you need to know a lot. You can just come [to the event], enjoy and pick your favorite drink.”
Wilson said they want to make sure it’s an enjoyable event and that there is enough space for people to be comfortable, so there are only 35 tickets on sale.
The $55 ticket can be bought through Eventbrite and includes four cocktails and tacos throughout the evening. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is expected to go until 9 or 10 p.m.
According to Wilson, this will be the first in a series of cocktail competitions. She’s considering a campari or whisky sour competition for 11th Mile’s next event.
“Each time we will pair a food to a spirit in some way,” she said. “But next time I’m just going to sell tickets at the restaurant. It seems like most people here want to just come in and buy tickets, so I think that’s what I’ll do for my next competition.”