First Annual Battle of the Botanicals

By Marcus Simon

On June 9, over 240 guests partied with the Hitchcock Center in celebration of our award-winning science and nature education programs at the first annual Battle of the Botanicals held at the Powerhouse at Amherst College. Six teams of local chefs, mixologists, and small business owners showcased their talent in amazing cocktail and food pairing tasting stations that featured local botanicals like beets, rosemary and bee pollen.

These talented teams all share the Hitchcock Center’s values of buying locally, sourcing sustainably, and supporting our community’s farmers.  Our heartfelt thanks goes out to 30Boltwood, The Alvah Stone, Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar, The Green Room with sevenstrong, Hope & Olive with Magpie, and Johnny’s Tavern, for their commitment to a vibrant and thriving Pioneer Valley.  These participating teams, along with the 50 businesses and individuals who donated to our silent auction, helped us to raise over $11,000 for our environmental education programs.

At Battle of the Botanicals, guests voted for their favorite stations and sent 30Boltwood of Amherst, The Alvah Stone of Montague, and Hope & Olive of Greenfield to the competition stage.  On stage, mixologists Victoria Torti, Lincoln Allen, and Jim Zaccara worked with a pantry of supplies donated by Pernod Ricard and Martignetti Companies, Big Y in Amherst, and River Valley Market in Northampton.  Each mixologist prepared a fresh on-the-fly botanical cocktail using our featured mystery box ingredient of chocolate mint from Saw Mill Herb Farm in Florence. Our panel of judges, Monte Belmonte, Amanda Drane, and Tim Driscoll, with the help of MC Joan Holliday, selected Lincoln Allen of The Alvah Stone as the winner of the 2016 Battle of the Botanicals!

You can see Lincoln’s drink, The Blue Ribbon, here. You can view all of the food and drink recipes from this year’s Battle of the Botanicals on our website, and also check out the fun and celebration in our slide show below.  Special thanks to our awesome organizing committee and sponsors.  See you next year!

Presenting Sponsors: Martignetti Companies; Pernod Ricard USA

Center Stage Sponsors: Florence Bank; Hope & Feathers Framing

Silent Auction Sponsors: Easthampton Savings Bank; The River 93.9; Whalen Insurance; Wright Builders

Station Map Sponsors: Amherst BID; Boisselle, Morton & Wolkowicz; Finck & Perras Insurance; The Lord Jeffery Inn

Organizing Committee: Tony Maroulis (Chair, Hitchcock Center Board), Jaana Custon (Hitchcock Center Board), Youssef Fadel (New England Promotional Marketing), Julie Johnson (HCE), Michelle Raboin (Hope & Feathers Framing), Robert Reeves (Lord Jeffery Inn), Marcus Simon (Hitchcock Center), Greg Wardlaw (Amherst College)


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