Cover Models Duel to the Drink

Student and mentor in the Austin cocktail scene shake it up for charity

Cover models for March/April's L Style/G Style magazine, Joyce Garrison and David Alan, went head-to-head in a friendly competition at the W Hotel on Tuesday, each fighting to donate a portion of the proceeds to a favored charity.

The dueling drinks, Alan's on the left and Garrison's on the right (Photo by Margaret Shugart)

Both competitors are celebrities in the Austin scene: Garrison is a long-time Austin bartender, now spinning her magic at the W’s The Secret Bar, and her teacher, David Alan is known by the pseudonym Tipsy Texan, keeping a blog, teaching Tipsy Tech (informal, community-based spirits courses), and writing the soon to be released book Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.99). Garrison took a Tipsy Tech semester and now calls Alan her mentor. She said it was a dream of a lifetime, or at least the last couple of years, to be making drinks by his side.

In the duel, both made one individually designed cocktail for two hours (7pm-9pm) and whoever sold the most donated a portion of the proceeds to his or her selected charity. Alan was raising money for the United States Bartenders Guild National Charity Foundation, supporting Share Our Strength, an organization fighting childhood hunger. Garrison was raising for The Grace Foundation, founded by Austin musician, Patrice Pike. It is a non-profit organization that provides support and scholarships for young adults who have survived homelessness.

Garrison's ingredients and smile (Photo by Margaret Shugart)

Behind the bar, their demeanor and approach could not be more different. Boisterous and giggly, Garrison pulled in every customer with a smile and made her drink with vivid flair, slapping basil leaves and working the shaker over her shoulder. Alan was friendly but more reserved, chatting quietly with each guest. They didn’t plan it, but both made cocktails based on fresh fruit ingredients, tequila, and highlighted the drinks with little known mixers like hum spirits and shrub (explained in the recipes below). Alan measured each ingredient carefully, using a jigger and Garrison eye-balled the pours, working off estimation and feel.

L Style/ G Style covers and Alan in motion of the craft (Photo by Margaret Shugart)

The bar clients rotated throughout the night and came from all over. Some were friends of Garrison and Alan, or were members of the Grace Foundation, some had read about the duel in L Style/ G Style magazine, some were staying at the hotel or lived in nearby condos. Most wanted to try both drinks and several paid over the requested $5 amount, in hopes the excess would go to charity. Patrice Pike came early to show her support and enjoyed her drinks tucked into a booth on the side of the room.

Joyce Garrison and Patrice Pike with Deep Purple Iris (Photo by Margaret Shugart)

Garrison’s drink, Deep Purple Iris, was named after a line in Patrice Pike’s song, “Volcanoes”: “Deep purple iris and motorbike miles/ my skin is burning/ I could be anywhere but with you tonight/ Lover your heart is waning.”

Joyce’s Deep Purple Iris

1 1/2 oz Don Julio Resposado

1/2 oz stirrings blood orange bitters

1/2 oz agave nectar

1 oz lime juice

3 muddled black berries

4 muddled basil leafs

Shaken and strained over new ice, in a glass spritzed with hum*

Garnished with a (slapped) basil leaf and a blackberry

*hum is 70 proof botanical liqueur infused with hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffire lime

Alan’s drink

1 1/2 oz Nom 100% Agave Blanco Tequila

1/2 oz Wahaka Joven Espadin Mezcal

3/4 oz St. Germain

3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz Pok Pok Som apple shrub*

Shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass

*Apple shrub is a "drinking vinegar," infused with apple juice and herbs. Once the rage in American colonial times, it is now popular in Asian mixology

Final results? Both drinks were sophisticated and delicious, shining examples of the craft-cocktail movement. Deep Purple Iris was fresh, complex, and tangy, with the basil adding a savory note. Alan's martini was layered and integrated, each sip opening up levels of flavor from the smoke of the mezcal, to the tartness of the shrub.

Garrison won by selling 115 to 24 and $230 was donated to The Grace Foundation.

The competitors and their partners, from left to right: Angela Briones, Joyce Garrison, David Alan, Joe Eifler (Photo by Margaret Shugart)

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