TAMPA — The city of Tampa now has an official cocktail, and it’s a fitting tribute to one of the area’s most beloved coffee drinks. The 6 a.m. on 7th Avenue, a boozy spin on cafe con leche, is the city’s first official alcoholic drink.
Bartender Kamran Mir from the Hub in Tampa was behind the creation. He won first prize at Tuesday night’s Crafting Tampa’s Cocktail event, which was held at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
The competition, which was spearheaded by the City of Tampa in collaboration with the Tampa Downtown Partnership, pitted more than a dozen bartenders from across the city in a battle to create a signature cocktail. Each bartender had seven minutes to create and present their drink, after which a team of judges, including Mayor Jane Castor, cast their vote based on criteria that included presentation, taste and creativity. (Full disclosure: I was also on the judging panel.) The drinks were meant to serve as a tribute to Tampa’s cultural heritage and history — there were more than a few that referenced pirates and cigars, and both rum and pineapple were popular ingredients.
Mir’s cocktail, which was served in a foam to-go cup in a carrier with a guava and cheese pastelito on the side, was a nod to an early morning in Ybor City and also served as an homage to the city’s immigrants. The drink combined Bacardi light rum, Galliano Ristretto (an Italian coffee liqueur), Grand Marnier and half-and-half.
“This is inspired by the cafe con leche, because when I think of something to drink in Tampa, that’s the first thing on my mind,” Mir said. “That’s the most Tampa beverage, as far as I’m concerned.”
Mir is also creating another spin on the drink, which will be more tropical and guava-based, so there will be two versions of the cocktail for both hotter and cooler temperatures. Part of the competition involved making a drink that could later be replicated by bartenders all over the city, and Mir will provide a taped tutorial and recipe for the drink to share.
In the coming weeks, the cocktail will also be served at the Winter Village in Riverwalk cups.