Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, an AAA Five-Diamond award recipient and California’s premiere Four Seasons resort, has won the Official Drink of Santa Barbara Cocktail Contest with their creation, the Biltmore Fuerte.

After nearly five months of Resort closure due to the Thomas Fire and Montecito Debris Flow, Ty Lounge Bartender Samantha Graham welcomed this year’s contest with eager arms. Originally from South Africa, Sam quickly fell in love with the close knit community feeling Santa Barbara had to offer, and was deeply moved by the loss the community faced in the wake of these two natural disasters. When thinking about cocktails and ingredients that truly embodied the spirit of Santa Barbara, Sam recalled a news story about Nick Wigle, owner of Super Bee Rescue, a bee removal and rescue company. Sam reached out to Nick and discovered that in addition to saving the honey, he also rescued many bees whose hives were destroyed in the Thomas Fire. The honey he extracted from these hives had a new and unique flavour with notes of sweet smoke, which Sam knew she had to use as the key element of her community strength-inspired cocktail, the Biltmore Fuerte.

The Biltmore Fuerte cocktail features locally-distilled Cutler’s 33 bourbon, which holds notes of sweet honeycomb, caramel, vanilla and spice.  The notes of honeycomb are mirrored by the Super Bee Rescue Thomas Wildfire honey, which offers subtle rich smoky flavours. Local Ebby’s Farm strawberries create a crisp and tart contrast, while lemons and lavender flowers from the Resort’s gardens balance the cocktail perfectly.

“Just as Nick was able to find something good in the wake of tragedy, we have come together as a community to support and help one another, despite being faced with unimaginable odds,” says Karen Earp, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. “Santa Barbara is truly resilient and has never been stronger or better – the Biltmore Fuerte is a testament to the strength of our beloved community.”

Visit Santa Barbara, the destination marketing organisation for Santa Barbara’s South Coast region, hosted its second annual competition June 21, 2018 following two weeks of online voting to secure the five finalists. Local restaurants, bars and lounges were invited to develop a signature mixed drink that celebrates the distinctive attributes of the “American Riviera.” The creation required inclusion of a spirit from Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, a locally owned small-scale craft distillery in the city’s Funk Zone. Contestants were encouraged to use at least one local ingredient and take inspiration from Santa Barbara’s dramatic landscapes, architectural landmarks and culinary scene. Finalists participated in the live competition, where a panel of judges decided on the winning cocktail.

In celebrating this award, along with its 90th year, the Resort is currently offering the Experience More – Resort Credit Package, which includes luxurious accommodations and a Resort credit of up to USD 300. Guests may use their credit to experience more – from scenic oceanfront dining at Bella Vista and handcrafted cocktails and sunset tapas at Ty Lounge to tennis lessons, spa treatments and more. For reservations, book online, call 805 969 2261 or contact your travel professional (chain code FS).

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is also celebrating with its popular Summer Tasting Series, which returned with a new lineup of the best local purveyors, distillers and winemakers. Guests are invited to experience the bounty of Santa Barbara via three tasting events set within several of the Resort’s standout venues. Additionally, new culinary and spa offerings have been introduced, further enhancing the guest experiences already available.