The third time was a charm Monday night for Joshua Olson, whose jalapeño lemon drop won the Daily Herald's annual Best Martini in the 'Burbs contest at Drink Nightclub in Schaumburg.
Olson, 34, of Palatine, has worked as a waiter and bartender at Chicago Prime Steakhouse in Schaumburg for seven years.
His entry last year was a chocolate martini. When that didn't do well with the judges, he decided to change things up.
"Everybody's had a lemon drop, but nobody's had one with jalapeño," he said.
He was inspired by chef Dave Overstreet, who makes candied jalapeño chips for his ceviche.
For his efforts, Olson won $500, a crystal trophy and, of course, bragging rights.
"This is amazing," he said.
Second place went to Christian Schmidling of Incontro A Tavola in South Barrington for his espresso-packed Trevolte Cafe Martini.
Third place went to Apollo of Jameson's Charhouse in Arlington Heights for his Twilight Tini.
Vera de Groot of J&L's Pizza and Sports in Palatine won fan favorite honors with her concoction, "Hands of Time," which includes Absolut vodka, St. Germaine liqueur, lime and kumquat.
If you'd like to try them at home, here are the winning recipes:
Judges' favoriteChicago Prime Steakhouse, Schaumburg
"Jalapeño Lemon Drop Martini"
1 ounce jalapeño simple syrup
1½ ounces Absolute Citron
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
Garnished with lemon wedge and candied jalapeño
Fan favoriteJ&L's Pizza and Sports, Palatine
"Hands of Time"
1½ ounces Absolut vodka
¾ ounce of vermouth
1 ounce of St. Germaine