Niagara Gazette


March 6, 2013

Cocktail Fest rousing success


Niagara Gazette — They didn't sell a single ticket to anyone during the festival. But that's good news. The event sold out before the first drink was ever poured.

"We sold out by 1 p.m. Saturday," Morinello said. "We printed a limited number of tickets because, this being a first-time event, we really didn't know what to expect. We wanted to make sure the places could handle the crowds they did get."

Some of the bars saw hundreds of people filling their rooms. Carmello's Restaurant, Casa Antica, The Brickyard and The Village Pub all saw large crowds of friendly, boisterous people. So much so, us actors simply couldn't command their attention.

So much so, DiBernardo and Morinello already scheduled the second-annual Lewiston Cocktail Festival. They aren't changing the weekend. They are changing the ticket count. There will be no more sellouts.

"There are a few adjustments we'll be making," Morinello said. "But we're looking at it being the first Saturday in March again. So many of our participants reported business being up in a time of year it typically isn't."

Lost in the event may be that it also served as a contest for local bragging rights. Not only were participants able to sample a drink from each location, they also had a chance to vote on them.

Hundreds of ballots later, Water Street Landing took the top honor as Absolute Best Cocktail for its Absolut Basil Gimlet.

Next year, the competition is likely going to raise its game. And, with more participants, the results may change. But, my alter ego, James Fenimore Cooper, known to enjoy a hearty challenge wrapped in a good aventure, will surely be there again, as well. 

Reporter Timothy Chipp can be reached at

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