Dimitrios Zahariadis and Carl Summa

Dimitrios Zahariadis and Carl Summa. (Melissa Byron photo / June 27, 2013)

Bartender Buddha was at The Faith Middleton Food and Booze Schmooze Martini Competition last week. The mixology event was held at Farmington Gardens and featured 37 bartenders from area bars and restaurants. Summer cocktails seemed to be on everyone's mind, as strawberries and mint were dominant ingredients in this years competition. Now in its third year, the Faith Middleton event has become the cocktail party of the summer. For enthusiasts like myself, it's a utopia of overwhelming proportion. How is one to pick the best martini? With so many different flavor profiles, how can there be one winner?

There are some honorable efforts I must mention. Confetti's (Plainville) made 'Sizzling Lips'. Tanteo jalapeno tequila combined with pomegranate juice proved to be a successful marriage. Backstage (Torrington) used Vizcaya Rum, rosemary infused lemonade, Chambord , Harpoon UFO raspberry beer and frozen raspberries for 'The Raspberry Patch.’ While Eli's of Hamden paired vodka, beet, apple and fresh orange juice for 'The Beetini.'

Now, as voted by the people: The second runner up went to Bartaco of West Hartford for their 'Portchester Reviver'; a refreshing gin-based cooler that is a top seller at their restaurant.

Second place went to J. Christians in Wallingford. 'Devil in a Red Velvet Dress' stood out as a unique chocolaty experience. Think Nutella and fresh muddled berries.

And the winner is......'Charter Oak Daiquiri' by The Cocktail Chemists. Dimitrios Zahariadis and Carl Summa are the cocktail chemists who spend most of their time creating drinks and inspiring bartenders to restore the craft of cocktail making. They bartend events and private parties. Zahariadis and Summa combined Don Q Anejo Rum, honey, a homemade fig syrup, fresh mint, lime and Fee Brothers whiskey barrel aged bitters. The Charter Oak Daiquiri was first entered into The Diageo World Class Cocktail Competition (a world-wide competition). It did not win, it did however win Connecticut's martini of 2013.