Last summer, in the spirit of always putting its people first, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants hosted its inaugural Ocean Prime associate beverage competition in partnership with Absolut Elyx. The fulfilling and enriching experience for associates, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reception of the winning cocktail from guests, inspired the team to turn this into an annual event.

On July 9, CMR hosted its second Ocean Prime associate beverage competition, this time in partnership with Hudson Whiskey. Since each location will soon have its own private barrel of Hudson Manhattan Rye, the goal of the contest was to create a new cocktail showcasing this spirit. They flew in one bartender from each of the concept’s 14 locations coast-to-coast to compete against their peers at The Ivory Room, a Cameron Mitchell Premier Event venue in Columbus, Ohio.

Each bartender came equipped with a recipe they developed in collaboration with the rest of their respective teams and prepared their cocktail for a panel of judges including award-winning cocktail and spirits writer Wayne Curtis. Each cocktail was judged on balance, aesthetic, operational ease, cost, collaboration, and showmanship. Ultimately, Ocean Prime New York’s Ashley Saylor won the top prize of $2,000 and the honor of having her cocktail, Rye on the Hudson, feature on all menus coast-to-coast for an entire year.

“This cocktail is well-balanced, crowd-pleasing, has multiple flavor layers, and really highlights the Hudson Rye,” says Andrea Hoover, CMR Beverage Operations Manager.  “It’s perfect any time of year.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ocean Prime through our private barrel program,” says Paul Coffey, Hudson Whiskey Brand Manager. “We were so impressed by each competitor’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and cocktail presentation; they made it very hard to pick a winner. Rye on the Hudson was beautifully executed. The rich earthy, nutty and cherry notes mingle with the stone fruit, ginger, and white pepper spice of the rye to create a fascinating and unexpected riff on a Manhattan.”


Rye on the Hudson

  • 1 oz Hudson Rye
  • 1/2 oz Nocello Walnut Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Lustau Don Nuno Dry Oloroso Sherry
  • 1/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 6 drops Orange Bitters
  • 6 drops Cherry Vanilla bark bitters
  • Stir ingredients together and serve over crushed ice in a highball glass with a lemon ribbon garnish.
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