Top Shelf Harvest Festival honors ‘September Sunset’ |

Top Shelf Harvest Festival honors ‘September Sunset’

Caramie Schnell
Ana Vogen makes her "September Sunset" cocktail, which won the cocktail contest at Saturday's Top Shelf Harvest Festival in Lionshead.
John-Ryan Lockman/ShowLove Media |

VAIL — A couple of hundred people, some dressed in snazzy speakeasy attire, attended the inaugural Top Shelf Harvest Festival in Lionshead on Saturday.

“While we don’t have final numbers yet, an estimate of 250 feels low based on the swirl of activity and ability to purchase a la cart tokens outside of the bundled ticket package,” said Clare Hefferren, of Callosum, the creative agency representing event producer Eagle Valley Events. “We’re thrilled to be hearing such amazing feedback for an inaugural year.”

Hefferren had a positive outlook regarding a return appearance for the festival.

“Based on turnout and guest feedback, we certainly hope Top Shelf Harvest will return in 2015,” she said. “The first year is a risk for all — event producer, vendors and sponsors. Now that we have solid feedback, data and media coverage, we are armed to bring on an even better lineup next year.”

A mixologist contest took place Saturday afternoon as part of the festival. Three bartenders competed.

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“We had four locked in and one backed out 24 hours prior to the event,” Hefferren said. “Perhaps cold feet? It’s one thing to say you’re a good mixologist, it’s another to work your art on the fly in front of an audience. It takes guts!”

Judges T.J. Voboril, DC Bollard and Steven Teaver ultimately crowned Ana Vogen’s September Sunset cocktail, a cranked up twist on the classic gin fizz, made with KJ Wood Distillery’s Jinn Gin, the winner. Vogen, a bartender at Elway’s and Lancelot, took home $250, a trophy and, of course, bragging rights.

Vogen attributed her use of fresh ingredients to her win.

“Using fresh ingredients is key for great cocktails,” she said. “I’m so glad the judges enjoyed my concoction.”

September Sunset

Courtesy of Ana Vogen


2 ounces KJ Wood Distillery’s Jinn Gin

1/2 lemon, juiced

6 fresh raspberries

3/4 ounce San Pellegrino Limonata

Orange slice

Cholula hot sauce

Orange peel

Thyme sprig

Directions: In a shaker, pour 2 ounces gin, lemon juice and fresh raspberries. Shake with ice in shaker. Coat a slice of orange in Cholula and add to base of highball glass. Add two ice cubes to glass. Strain shaker into the glass. Top with 3/4 ounce San Pellegrino Limonata. Coat rim of glass with orange peel spiral and place on rim. Garnish with thyme sprig and serve.

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