Quick Bites: Rochester bartender is in the competitive mix

Joshua Augustin.jpg
Joshua Augustin

As with the booming craft beer industry, insiders know that craft cocktails are both an art and a science. And there may be no better artistic scientist than Zzest Market and Café's Josh Augustin.

"It's great having Josh on staff," said Zzest owner LeeAnn Zubay. "His knowledge of craft cocktails is well beyond me. There's a following for this kind of thing in Rochester, and I feel like we're on the cutting edge."

Augustin's talent is being recognized this weekend all the way down in New Orleans, where he's competing in the Bittercube National Cocktail Competition finals at Tales of the Cocktail, an annual cocktail convention. Bittercube Bitters is a Wisconsin-based bitters crafter. Augustin describes bitters as "the salt and pepper of the cocktail world."

Each cocktail in the competition had to include bitters and rum, but the rest was up to the mixologists. Augustin is one of six finalists competing tomorrow with his very own "McCoy's Bounty" cocktail, which includes Brugal Anejo rum, St Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Benedictine, Bittercube Jamaica #1, and Bittercube Blackstrap.

"I chose the dram and Benedictine for their herbal, spicy qualities and sweetness," Augustin said.


If he comes away with the grand prize, Augustin will collaborate with Bittercube on a limited batch of bitters, including having his name inscribed on the label and sharing the profits from the batch.

The winning cocktail will also be featured on the menu of the newly opened Cane and Table, a cocktail bar in New Orleans that focuses on rum drinking in the colonial era, Havana in the 1920s and the first decade of tiki.

Good luck to Augustin, and I know he'll do Rochester proud. Ask him for a drink at Zzest when he returns, and then look for Megan Kennedy'supcoming Seen and Heardcolumn to read about the competition results.

More BBQ for Med City

What do you get when you take Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe'ssmoked meats and a double drive-through?

A match made in piggy heaven.

The local butcher shop's smoked pulled meats are legend at grad parties, cookouts and other big events, but until now it's been readily available only through their catering business.

This fall, you'll be able to get their smoked chicken, pork and beef every day of the week.


The Smokehouse BBQ Shackwill open this fall on 37th Street Northwest, in the old Paradise Island Coffeebuilding, which features a double drive-through and patio seating. In addition to the smoked pulled meat sandwiches, they'll also offer hot and cold side dishes, sandwich toppings — and they plan to resurrect Paradise Island's espresso drinks and ice cream, too.

Their opening date will be announced soon, and I'll look to take my first bite there sometime this fall.

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