Middleton Martini Mania A Shaken/Stirred Blast

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martini1If you were a martini aficionado walking through the doors of The Riverview in Simsbury Thursday, it was like heading into your own kind of heaven.

More than 30 well-known restaurants were there to greet you, each offering a martini delight as they vied for the title “best martini” in the annual “Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini competition, hosted each year by the popular NPR personality and foodie.  martini5

“I don’t know where to start,” said Tammy Richards, a Hartford resident who came to the fundraising contest with friends. “I always think of a martini as gin and vermouth and it certainly doesn’t look like any of these.”

For purists, it was not the place to be as mixologists shake or stirred “out of the box” in an effort to come up with the most creative and most tasty martini-like libation possible.

martini6Among the choices there was the caramel and peanut Crackerjack Martini, the quintessential summer watermelon martini, the Smokin’ with James bourbon-laced entry, the ginger-kissed chili Thai martini, the pungent humo de fuego  and the hops-infused vodka creation, The Randy.

The annual event is hosted by Middleton and benefits NPR programming initiatives.

“I just think it’s a nice way to get people out and introduce them to new tastes in a mood that is up,” said Middleton who was sporting some nice jewelry. “There is something about hearing a cocktail shaker that just makes people happy!”

Middleton was doing a little celebrating of her own and it had nothing to do with martinis, not even hermartini2 secret four ingredient recipe that she would only acknowledge contains lime juice and rum.

“We just celebrated our second anniversary together,” said Middleton about her relationship with girlfriend, Amy Gross, former editor-in-chief for Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine.

The celebration, Middleton said, included a trip back to Sunset Beach on Shelter Island where the two had their first date.

Also doing some Middleton-related celebrating was Alex Province, a regular guest on her Food Schmooze show, who has now joined the program on a regular basis.

For more pictures go here.

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