Carnival Cocktails for Cancer is an amazing event that has been put together in memory and honour of Jennifer Gardiner AKA Jen Unplugged. No ordinary woman, according to her friends she was larger than life loving fashion, food, wine, cocktails and friends. In turn this event is no ordinary fundraiser with all funds directed specifically toward clinical trials at the Tom Baker Cancer centre right here in Alberta.
This event is not your everyday food and drink tasting event. Set at the Hotel Arts you can be prepared to have all of your senses amazed as you enter a true old fashioned carnival. Each of the 20+ participating restaurants and bars are assigned a different carnival theme and a base liquor and are then challenged to come up with a one of a kind version of carnival food or carnival cocktail to serve to the crowd goers for the night.
No where else are you going to see a lion pouring and shaking cocktails,
a card reader that will determine which drink is best for you,
strong men lifting bar bells while pouring drinks full of rum, cream, cinnamon, egg and milk with a donut hole,
and a bearded lady to read your fortune among just a few of the delights.
As we explored this amazing setting with the DJ pumping out great music we came across Deep Fried Smoked Butter with bone marrow and spicy mayo from Proof.
Also from proof was their drink offering, the Old Flame a great drink with gin, sweet vermouth, citrus, 5 spice and of course fire!
Tamales de Chivo with goat barbacoa and salsa verde and a side of Esquites, a braised corn dish with queso fresco and cilantro from Native Tongues Taqueria.
Anejo provided one of our favourites of the night with their take on chicken and waffles as Chicken and Churros.
Black Pig Bistro offered up a BBQ Spiced Chicharron with crunchy slaw and a Graceland Donut with banana chips, bacon and a warm peanut butter filling.
And where else would you be able to try Heritage Angus Tongue Pastrami with an arugula sponge and juniper foam paired up with a Chika-Cherry Cola drink mixed with gin, cola syrup, lime and cherry jam both the inventions of Cannibale.
Brasserie Kensington offered up a perfect treat of Brasserie Waffles with chocolate covered bacon and vanilla bourbon maple syrup. A whole bin of chocolate covered bacon…..how could you go wrong?
Add of course the Hotel Arts had an amazing showing with a Mole in the Hole interactive drink where you had to “whack a mole” and smash your ancho ice ball to mix it with whisky, 5 spice syrup and chocolate bitters and a combination of Guaca-Mole with a citrus cured albacore guacamole cone and a mole braised chicken leg on a puffed corn chip.
The food and drink selections went on and on with a new discovery at each turn. The night was amazing with a feeling of excitement and fun. Not only did the night offer amazing food and drinks but table after table of silent auction items and raffle tickets where the lucky winners would take home two tickets for any West Jet destination and over 80 bottles of wine from the wine tower!
We have all in one way or another been touched by cancer and I can not imagine a better way to honour someones memory and continue raising funds to fight the good fight than a night like tonight. The all inclusive tickets for the night were $150 a ticket which is a small price considering the cause and the amazing event. We are already looking forward to next years event and will be watching for the tickets to go on sale in late fall. I can’t wait to share the news about this wonderful night and encourage more people to come with us next year.
Exploring the carnival and supporting a cause close to all of us, I am Your Everyday Foodie.