Apple American Group’s Applebee’s locations owned and operated by Flynn Restaurant Group, today announced it has launched a new cocktail perfect for summer sippin’ – the ‘Vina-Rita,’ a unique twist on the traditional margarita featuring Teremana Blanco tequila and finished with a floater of Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon. The Vina-Rita is available at for a suggested price of $9 at participating Applebee’s locations during July and August. Prices may vary.
Created during the Applebee’s 2023 Mixology Contest, which challenges its teams to create summer-themed cocktails capable of piquing guests’ interest. Over 400 Apple American Group team members in 23 states submitted cocktail recipes, which were reviewed by a panel of mixology judges. Each was judged according to presentation, creative twist and flavor profiles while also complementing Applebee’s wide selection of menu items. Michelle Sykora, Oakdale, MN resident and 23-year bartender at Applebee’s of Oak Park Heights, concocted the Vina-Rita netting her a $1,000 grand prize and the distinction of the drink being sold at nearly 440 participating Applebee’s locations nationwide.
“Our Applebee’s Mixology contest encourages our staff to channel their inner bartender, challenging them to create unique and refreshing summertime cocktails our guests will love,” says Terry Culler, Marketing Manager, Apple American Group. “This year’s competition was fierce, but the Vina-Rita came out on top. We are thrilled to award Michelle Sykora with our grand prize and look forward to serving the ‘Vina Rita’ at our nearly 440 Applebee’s locations nationwide this summer.”
“When deciding on the cocktail I wanted to create, I borrowed a little inspiration from one of Applebee’s existing drinks – the Perfect Margarita – which is a personal favorite,” says Michelle Sykora. “As a fan of red wine and a solid margarita, I decided to blend those two flavor profiles and the result was delicious. And the Vina-Rita was born.”
Many Yin, a Lowell, MA resident and 22-year bartender at Applebee’s of Tewksbury, took second place, winning a $500 prize for his Tropical Kiss cocktail made with Tito’s vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple juice and passion fruit syrup.
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