By David T. Valentin
Drink Masters, a 10-episode competition wherein a diverse collection of 12 mixologists compete for $100K and the title Drink Master. The show features American comedian Tone Bell as host and judge, alongside judges and influential mixologists in the bar scene, Julie Reiner and Frankie Solarik. Each episode, contestants are given a theme, whether that be pairing cocktails with food, crafting a cocktail after famous pastries, or hosting a 1920’s prohibition era themed bar in teams. The show is fast paced but easy to follow. As Drink Masters moves along, viewers are given a peak into what it means to elevate a cocktail just beyond what one might taste in their glass.
I found the show to be incredibly inspiring. Given that I’m an aspiring amateur mixologist myself, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what you can really do when it comes to combining everyday cooking techniques to crafting a cocktail. Not only that, but Drink Masters opened my eyes to the variety of flavors you can incorporate both subtly and boldly within a cocktail as well as the techniques you can utilize to add that flavor. I mean, how freaking cool is it to use an iSi whipper to rapidly infuse flavor into a spirit? I’ll definitely be getting one of those.
One thing I found different from other food competition shows is that all the contestants seemed like genuine good people just doing their thing, trying to show the judges who they are and what makes them unique from the other contestants in the competition. Sometimes there’s this urge to instill a sense of drama within competitive cooking shows that’s not always necessary to make a show interesting. I can honestly say, I was happy with most of the contestants winning. Each contestants approach to mixology was so unique and different from one another that it gave me so many different reasons to root for each of them.
Although I would have liked to see a glimpse more into the life of some of the contestants to add a more personable flair to the show, I always felt that shined through in their unique approaches to mixology. Their personality, background and history really shined through on the challenges where I didn’t exactly need to hear more from the contestants to understand where they were coming from.
Drink Masters was a fun change of pace to the standard cooking shows we’re so used to. Would I have liked to hear more about the flavors incorporated into the cocktails to get a better feel to how these drinks tasted? Absolutely. But given there aren’t many mixology competition shows out there, I thought Drink Masters did a good job at its first go around.