Park Slope

Spicy! Cocktail competition brings out local tastemakers

July 22, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
Davina Thomasula (left) was the winner of a spicy cocktail competition that included ingredients from Salamander Sauce Company, created by Tim Kavarnos (second from right)

A competition to concoct the spiciest cocktail using ingredients from local Brooklyn tastemakers was a hit Monday evening, even if some participants were left fanning their mouths — this reporter included.

Tim Kavarnos, founder of Salamander Sauce Company, teamed up with Laura Gaber of Brooklyn Beef Jerky and Sixpoint Brewing to treat locals to whatever libations participants could whip up at local restaurant Backyard in Park Slope.

The winning cocktail was Salerida, created by Davina Thomasula of Williamsburg.

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“Any chance I get to combine black pepper, strawberry and hot sauce, I’ll do so,” said Thomasula, a chef and author who works at forknplate.com.

Brooklyn is becoming increasingly known for its quirky, hand-crafted businesses, especially in the culinary realm. Kavarnos, of Sunset Park, founded his sauce company just last year with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. Gaber, of Park Slope, worked as a paralegal for years before finally setting her sights on a dream of artisanal beef jerky.

“My father was an entrepreneur, and encouraged me to start my own business,” Gaber said. “I had been cooking it for a year, with friends loving the recipes, when I decided to take the leap.”


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