• 530.541.3420 | 2170 South Avenue, S. Lake Tahoe, CA
Barton Health

Cocktails for a Cause Draws a Supportive Crowd

South Lake Tahoe, CA - It was a festive, yet reflective evening at the Barton Foundation’s 7th annual Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser on Wednesday, September 21. More than two hundred revelers gathered at Riva Grill to sample cocktails made by local mixologists and raise more than $8,000 for Barton Health’s Cancer Wellness Program.

Seven mixologists each created drinks with Tahoe Blue Vodka that symbolized a different cancer ribbon. Bartenders from Azul Latin Kitchen, Boathouse on the Pier, Chart House, Cold Water Brewery, Heavenly Mountain Resort, LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits, and Riva Grill participated. 

As attendees judged and voted with their dollars, many mixologists shared pictures and stories of loved ones affected by their cancer cause. For Ryan Parker, the brewmaster at Cold Water Brewery, his story was personal. Six weeks ago, his wife Rose was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

“I know that most of these people [attending the event] are surrounded by cancer, whether it’s a family member, a friend or neighbor,” said Ryan. “A fundraiser like this brings us all together with a common purpose and to celebrate life with one another.”

Ryan did have something to celebrate when his coworker, Jacob Craig, received the most tips and was recognized as Most Congenial Bartender. The Cold Water team served The Magic of Pixie Dust, a periwinkle concoction featuring a stem of candied lavender and a rim of pixie stick sugar. 

In a new twist this year, celebrity judges determined the Best Cocktail. Criteria included originality, taste, use of Tahoe Blue Vodka, presentation, and connection to their cancer cause. Gary Gamprie and James Olson of LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits received the honor for their mauve fruit smoothie, Krista’s Cause, named after his South Lake Tahoe friend Krista Carson battling brain cancer.

“This is my sixth year in this contest and when I found out the theme, I immediately thought of Krista,” said Gary, who lived with Krista’s husband nearly 25 years ago.

This is the first victory for LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits and Gary Gamprie. Krista’s Cause will be featured as the signature cocktail the Barton Foundation’s 25th annual Gala at the Festival of Trees & Lights in December.

Barton Health is dedicated to the delivery of consistently exceptional care to community members and visitors. Barton Health’s Cancer Wellness Program will address the social, emotional, and functional aspects of a patient’s cancer journey through supportive services, such as massage, exercise, psychotherapy, and nutrition classes. The program will be offered free of charge to community members undergoing cancer treatment.