Atlantic City, N.J. – From Memorial Day to Labor Day, more than 250,000 votes were cast in the inaugural Great HEROtini Mocktail Challenge, created by the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers. Thirty-three popular bars and restaurants in Atlantic and Cape May counties spent all summer competing to prove who makes the best zero-proof mocktail. Now it’s time to find out!
The top ten finalists in the Best Tasting HEROtini Drink category will compete for the HEROtini Cup, judged by local celebrity judges, at the HEROtini Happening celebration, September 14 at Stockton Seaview Resort in Galloway, Atlantic County, NJ.
Winners in the categories of Best HERO Establishment, Best HERO Bartender and Best HEROtini Drink Name will also be announced at the event.
The HERO Campaign is promoting the idea that designated drivers can still have fun and join in the festivities with non-alcoholic drinks that look and taste like the real thing.
“This isn’t your parents’ Shirley Temple,” noted Bill Elliott, co-chairman of the HERO Campaign along with his wife Muriel. “These drinks are delicious, sophisticated and often healthier than their alcohol-filled counterparts. Now designated drivers can have fun enjoying zero-proof mocktails and still get home safely.”
Elliott and his wife established the HERO Campaign in memory of their son John, a Navy ensign who was killed by a drunken driver in July 2000, only two months after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. “We believe designated drivers are the cure for drunk driving,” noted Muriel,” who originated the idea for the HEROtini contest.
To promote the event, and designated driver message, competing establishments hosted HEROtini Tasting Events to share their new concoctions and encourage fans to vote. The Great HEROtini Recipe Book, including pictures and ingredients for all 33 HEROtinis, will be distributed at the September 14 event, and available for purchase at HEROtini.org.
Competing bartenders selected fun names to go with their HEROtini entries, including the Vagabond Grille’s “Mint to go Home,” the Wonder Bar’s “Superman,” Bar One’s “Berry Sobertini,” and the “Cherry Lifesaver at the Sofia Restaurant. Some, such as the “Wing-arita” at Charlie’s Tavern, or the “Coagulated Mary,” at the Ducktown Tavern, combine favorite menu items, such as chicken wings and burgers, along with the drinks.
The Berry Iced Tea at the Ebbitt Room in Cape May features strawberries and other fruit garnishes picked fresh from the nearby Beach Plum Farm.
Angela Diamantis, co-owner of Sofia in Margate, she said the contest shows people can have a great time without having to consume alcohol.
“I strongly believe in being responsible and promoting responsible drinking,” Diamantis said. “You can have a nonalcoholic drink and still have a lot of fun.”
Her sponsor, the D’Amato Law firm, is one of two sponsors backing more than one HEROtini hopeful. Paul D’Amato’s son in law, Alex Barrera, is president of the Atlantic County Bar Association, which is sponsoring the Little Water Distillery in Atlantic City. Local radio talk show host Harry Hurley is backing Angeloni’s II restaurant, while his son-in-law, John Baker, created “Just What the Doctor Ordered” for Steve and Cookie’s restaurant in Margate.
Glenn Insurance Inc., of Absecon and Vineland, has been a HERO Campaign sponsor from the very beginning, said the company’s owner and president, Tim Glenn. “They took a horrible tragedy and turned it into something positive to save lives,” Glenn said of the Elliotts.
Glenn Insurance is partnering with the Northfield accounting firm of Capaldi, Reynolds and Pelosi to sponsor Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar in Somers Point in the HEROtini contest.