Cocktails at CORE Fundraiser at Cuba Libre
Cocktails at CORE Fundraiser at Cuba Libre

With so many great restaurants and bars in the Washington, DC area and new ones popping up every week, we know firsthand the real difference in the hospitality industry is made by the hard working people that make it all happen: the waiters, the cleaners, the kitchen staff, busboys and many others behind the scenes. Taking care of a family and working long hours can be difficult enough, let alone when going through life altering situations such as family death, injury, the loss of home or other extreme circumstances. Fortunately, an organization called CORE, Children of Restaurant Employees, provides support for food and beverage service families in need.

CORE Fundraising Event
The Scene at Cuba Libre

CORE Fundraising Event at Cuba Libre

I was recently invited to a fun event to benefit this wonderful charity. Hosted by Cuba Libre Restaurant and Bar, their first annual cocktail competition had eight of the city’s leading mixologists create a rum based cocktail, which was then judged by an expert panel and of course the attendees. The creations had to feature one specific brand of rum of one of the following categories: white, añejo, spiced, flavored, 100% sugar cane, or dark.

Besides the proceeds of the evening going to CORE, I got to enjoy the fun dynamic of the event. I was very happy to see locally distilled rums were used. The DMV area has more and more craft distillers and supporting them is so important to maintain a vibrant community. What a way to be teleported to the Caribbean! Sampling fruity and festive rum cocktails while a live band provided the upbeat salsa soundtrack at Cuba Libre DC.

Cocktails at CORE Fundraiser at Cuba Libre
Cocktails at CORE Fundraiser at Cuba Libre

Cocktails at the Event

Lately, I have been experimenting a little at home with fresh fruit juices and various types of rum and this is definitely one that I will try to recreate soon: ‘the Muckraker’ by Amy Hosseinnian of Buffalo and Bergen Restaurant. Cocktail was made with Bayou Silver Rum, lime juice, orange syrup, mint leaves, homemade sparkling Agua Fresca de Tamarindo and Champagne. Garnished with orange peel flag and mint plush.  Delicious !

The night’s winner though captured a multitude of flavors that contrasted and complemented each other at the same time: sweet, tart, refreshing yet comforting. Not yet ready for harsh winter temperatures but a perfect beverage to enjoy these beautiful early fall days.  “Papa’s watering hole” by Aaron Joseph, Papa’s Pilar

Papa’s Pilar blonde Rum, watermelon basil puree, lime juice and fall spice syrup. Garnished with watermelon, basil sprig and charred cinnamon. Aside from the excitement of the competition, it was great to know the event raised over $1,000 for CORE.



How to Contribute to CORE

As glamorous as the restaurant and bar life may look on the outside, those of us who have worked in foodservice know that the benefits are not always great. It’s great to know there’s a organization like CORE that can step in and help families in need. Head to their website to find out how you can donate or become an ambassador.