Coming up with the perfect drink to match Bodie Shandro's zest for healthy living and the great outdoors proved a difficult task for Preston's restaurant mixologist Daelyn Woollam.
She tried several blends of liquor and mix before coming up with The Vodka Paddle, a blend of vodka, juice and berries that lived up to "health nut" Shandro's philosophy of life.
The hard work and patience paid off, as The Vodka Paddle bested four other concoctions to take first prize at the annual Kamloops Cocktail competition on Thursday.
"I'm thrilled. It was so difficult. We went through so many other drink ideas," said Woollam. "We're all very happy with it. It was definitely a fun challenge."
Hosted at Hotel 540 by Tourism Kamloops, this year's competition found local restaurants paired with a local business. The challenge was to reflect the real people with real experiences in the region.
Shandro owns Paddle Surfit on Heffley Lake. During the competition, he told the five judges — who included Mayor Peter Milobar, CBC personality Doug Herbert and consultant Bryce Herman — paddle surfing is the fastest growing water sport in the world.
"It's healthy, it's environmentally friendly and it's easy to do," said Shandro. "I love sharing it with everybody that comes out to visit us."
He also likes to stay healthy, and only indulges in vodka and soda or gin and soda, which is where the challenge came for Woollam.
She infused vodka with pine needles to appeal to Shandro's love of the outdoors, juice from locally grown strawberries, Barnhartvale honey, cranberry juice and San Pellegrino.
Shandro said it's a perfect mix.
"It represents my fruit smoothie in the morning, Pellegrino at noon and shot of vodka before bed," he said.
The judges agreed, and voted accordingly. The drinks were judged based on presentation, flavour, appearance and how the beverage represented the company/personality it was paired with.
Last year's victor, Terra, took second place with the Tranquille Tea. The mix of Harper's Trail pinot gris, melon tea, spicy simple syrup and soda was a match for Tranquille Farm Fresh.
Hotel 540 restaurant Blue came in third. Their creation, The Fountain of Youth, embodied the qualities of Sunmore Ginseng Spa.
All five of the competing cocktails will remain on the restaurants' menus through the summer.