Fresh from a $28 million redesign, the Washington Marriott Georgetown formally feted the launch of its shiny new digs on Wednesday night with a charitable “Bourbon Battle.”
Food Network star Rossi Morreale hosted the boozy battle, which saw two rounds of playfully heated competition. The first face-off pitted members of the District’s budding media community against one another, with National Journal’s Jeff Dufour besting his colleagues from Zagat, Eater, DCist, and DC Refined. Dufour’s winning cocktail will be featured on the menu of the hotel’s restaurant, The Visiteur, for the next 6 months, with 100% of the drink’s proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
But the evening’s main grudge match was a showdown between some of the area’s top bartenders and mixologists. Jessica Weinstein, Beverage Director and Bar Manager for Hank’s Oyster Bar, Jennifer Feldt, Bartender at Addendum and 801 and SpeedRack SE Champion, Samuel Abdweh, Bartender at the Washington Marriott Georgetown, and Lauren Sundburg, Bartender at the Marriott Griffin Gate, duked it out across three heated rounds of competition where everything from the garnish to the glassware impacted their final scores.
Ultimately, judges Carrie Allan (Spirits Writer for the Washington Post), David Hagedorn (Food Writer and Cookbook Author), and James Addison (VP Operations, Design & Development, Marriott International) crowned Weinstein the Bourbon Battle winner, however. In addition to bragging rights, she took home a weekend stay at the hotel, Marriott’s coveted Platinum rewards status, and 100,000 rewards points.
Guests to Wednesday’s event were further treated to a sampling of some of Washington’s best locally made bourbons, such as those distilled at Jos. A. Magnus, all while jamming to the sounds of bluesman Jonny Grave and his band.
As for the hotel’s parting gift to attendees? A travel cocktail kit, naturally.