Mixologist Benjamin Hash of Penn Square Grille in Lancaster, Pa., Wins Ultimate Margarita Mix-Off

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Other recent honors for Hash include being named the finalist to represent Pennsylvania in the national QG/Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender contest and winning first place in a recent Brugal Rum competition.

fine dining in Lancaster, Pa.

27-year-old mixologist Benjamin Hash shakes it up at the Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge in Downtown Lancaster, Pa.

You’ve got to have faith in yourself and trust your intuitions,” says Hash of his creations. "I know that if I put the right ingredients in the drink, it’s going to work.

With a margarita entry tellingly named the 11th Hour, Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge mixologist Benjamin Hash recently won first place in the statewide Ultimate Margarita Mix-Off. The contest was held at El Serrano Restaurante in Lancaster, Pa.

As part of the award, Hash and Penn Square Grille restaurant manager Christopher Trendler will travel to Paris and Angers, France, for five days to visit the Cointreau Académie and meet with Alfred Cointreau.

The creation, devised on the deadline day of the contest, took Hash 14 hours to invent, including a trip to the grocery store and Lancaster Central Market. The remaining 10 hours were spent creating and revising the drink with an array of liquors, juices, fruits, vegetables, and spices. The drink had to contain tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice as its main ingredients, with other ingredients serving as the “supporting cast,” according to Hash.

The 11th Hour recipe

The 11th Hour includes 1.5 oz Herradura Reposado tequila, .75 oz Cointreau, 2 oz muddled star fruit, .5 oz fresh lime juice, .5 oz agave nectar (hot infused with ginger, vanilla bean, and cinnamon) and a dash of Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters. The drink is served in a rocks glass with ice rimmed with a lemongrass, lavender bud, and vanilla bean-infused Himalayan pink sea salt. The drink is garnished with star fruit and lavender blossom.

Other awards

Hash traveled last year to Las Vegas as the Pennsylvania winner to compete at the national level in the QG/Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender contest. He also won first place in a recent Brugal Rum contest.

“You’ve got to have faith in yourself and trust your intuitions,” says 27-year-old Hash of his creations. I know that if I put the right ingredients in the drink, it’s going to work.”

About the Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in historic Downtown Lancaster, the Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge focuses on local sustainably produced food and the celebration of connections -- to the region through its offering of fresh local bounty, to a city via remarkable presence on Penn Square, and to a treasured past with the reemergence of this landmark setting.

Both the lounge and restaurant are designed to take full advantage of their noteworthy presence on historic Penn Square and reflect the elegance of the boldly reused Beaux-Arts façade of the former Watt & Shand Department Store. Glorious floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, and distinctive décor provide a counterpoint of contemporary flair to the surrounding history. The 92-seat restaurant provides an additional 12-seat private dining room just adjacent to the expansive, 54-seat Rendezvous Lounge. The warm, carefully illuminated interior conveys refined style and comfort with polished dark wood millwork, custom designed banquettes and gracious seating.

More information about the restaurant, located at 2 East King Street, Lancaster, Pa., is available at http://www.pennsquaregrille.com. To make a reservation or book a dining event, call 717-207-4033.

About the Lancaster County Convention Center and Marriott at Penn Square

The restaurant is part of the integrated Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster and leased to Penn Square Partners, the private company that holds the Marriott franchise. The Lancaster County Convention Center is a publicly owned entity under the direction of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority. The Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge is operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the nation’s largest independent hotel management company. For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company’s web site at http://www.ihrco.com.

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