by Luke Tsai
On Tuesday, July 29, about twenty of the Bay Area’s top bartenders will gather at Albany’s Ivy Room (860 San Pablo Ave.) in a quest to prove that while oil and water famously don’t mix, oil and booze sometimes can — and often with delicious results.
In collaboration with Berkeley-based La Tourangelle Artisan Oils, The Ivy Room is hosting what might be the first local event of its kind: a cocktail competition in which the participants must create an original drink that makes use of at least one of La Tourangelle’s specialty oils. The faceoff will take place on Tuesday evening from 4 to 9 p.m., with the winner taking home a bar kit, a full set of La Tourangelle oils, and a cool $500. There is no entry fee.
The event is the brainchild of Ronaldo Colli, The Ivy Room’s head mixologist and a decorated veteran of the competitive cocktail scene, who first started experimenting with using different oils in his cocktails a few years ago when, to his knowledge, no one else was really doing it. In fact, Colli said that even recently, when he started talking to local bartenders about oil-based cocktails, they all looked at him like he was crazy. But, as Colli put it, “If you’re going to call yourself a mixologist, nothing is impossible.”