Classic Tix, San Diego Competitions and the Guinness World Record drinkmaker

Tickets have just gone on sale for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, scheduled for May 13–17. Schedule, sponsorship and participation info all can be found here. Highlights include Rye Mania! with Dave Wondrich, Joseph Magliocco and Willie Pratt; The Science of Citrus with Philip Duff; Three Mixologists, Three Drinks, Three Ways with Colin Kimball, Jamie Boudreau and Kathy Casey; The History of Distilling in New York City with Allen Katz and Tom Potter; Spirits in a Blind, or How Spirits Professionals Describe Spirits with Something Other Than "I Like It" with Steve Olson and Doug Frost and much, much more.

San Diego’s first Bartenders Guild is kicking off its newly launched union with a mixology competition on April 10. Hosted in one of San Diego’s oldest original speakeasies, the US Grant Hotel’s Celestial Ballroom, the event will draw 25 of the city’s top mixologists, including Grant Grill’s Amy Bissel, to take part. Competitors will be judged by Guild founders, including Ian Ward of Snake Oil Cocktails, Nick Brigante of Indigo Grill and Levi Walker from Prohibition; two winners will be sent to NYC to compete in the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. One day later, look for the San Diego Spirits Festival’s Coastal Bartender Battle, a quest to find the best talent behind the bars in San Diego. Bartenders are competing by neighborhood, and this battle is focused on talent in the Coastal neighborhoods. Competitors hailing from Whisknladle, Flavor Del Mar, Nine-Ten, Johnny V’s, Longboards and Vigilucci's are expected to compete. A portion of the proceeds from all drink sales will benefit the newly formed San Diego chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. The winner will move on to the final, Ultimate Battle at the San Diego Spirits Festival in June.

St-Germain is launching a program to support community building and exchange of ideas among bartenders, called L’Équipe St-Germain.L'Equipe St-Germain Projects include a bartender exchange program, a bar-course scholarship, an educational grant and a cocktail competition. Four times per year, the brand will select two bartenders to switch cities and bartending shifts for a three- to five-day period, ending in a hosted lunch for local bartenders and a seminar about cocktails in their neighborhood. The brand also has partnered with Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) to provide one bartender with a scholarship ($3,500 tuition and a $1,000 stipend for expenses) to attend the five-day Intermediate Certificate Program. St-Germain also will provide a few deserving bartenders with financial assistance by sponsoring efforts to further their careers through an educational trip or class.

The Can-Can Classic Cocktail Competition has partnered with Edible Communities magazines. Submissions will be accepted until Aug. 31, and each winner will receive an Edible Communities editorial profile as well as a Yarai (Japanese) cocktail mixing glass from Cocktail Kingdom. Each regional winner will be eligible to win the final $10,000 cash prize.

Whisky Live New York returns this week at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, 23rd Street, on April 6. Whether you are a seasoned whisk(e)y lover or a novice, you can expect in-depth insight into the world of Scotch, Bourbon and Whiskies (Irish, Kentucky, Japanese, Canadian and American) along with food and entertainment. Book your tickets at the Whisky Live New York 2011 Website.  Attendance is limited, but get a 10% discount using code "fb2011."

In other news, NY bartender (and tri-athelete) Sheldon Wiley in March shattered the Guinness World Record for making the most cocktails in one hour -- 1,003 DIFFERENT cocktails -- surpassing German bartender Matthia Knorr’s score of 937 last July. Wiley also upped the ante by using four ingredients rather than the Guinness rulebook minimum of three and skipped the soda gun altogether. 360 Vodka backed Wiley in his efforts. In addition to the 360 varieties of flavored vodkas, he used a slew of syrups and juices.

Sheldon Wiley

Sheldon Wiley mixes up 1,003 cocktails in one hour to shatter the Guinness World Record.

In San Francisco, recent Chicago transplant Peter Vestinos beat nine other finalists at the Battle of the Tequileros at Tres in late March with his drink, Dry & Dusty. Tres barback Randy Perez won the nod as crowd favorite with his Chile Fresco. Sponsored by Tequila Herradura and the United States Bartender Guild, the event dropped $2,000 on Vestinos, $500 on Perez and collected more than $1,400 for the Bartender Relief Fund. Also competing: Brandon Clements of Spruce, Summer-Jane Bell of the Hotsy Totsy Club, Jessica Maria of the Hotsy Totsy Club, Dominic Venegas of 83 Proof, Matt Fleeger of Tres, Chase Williamson of Zero Zero, John Guiffre of John Collins Lounge and Michael Callahan of Azul. Here’s the winning drink:

Dry & Dusty

Peter Vestinos of Long Bar/Prospect

2 oz. Tequila Herradura Anejo

1/2 oz. Cinzano Bianco Vermouth

1/4 oz. Aqua Perfecta Raspberry Eau de Vie

1 bar spoon Speyside Scotch

1/4 oz. fresh lime juice

1/4 oz. agave nectar

2 dashes lemon bitters

Egg white

Dry shake all main ingredients and reshake with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Lay over a horseshoe stencil and spray bitters (combination of Angostura Bitters, orange bitters and rose water) through an atomizer. Remove stencil and add a few colorful edible flowers around horseshoe.

Just one of many recent food and beverage benefits targeting Japan’s woes: bartenders and brands, led by NCB Contributing Editor Jenny Adams, Gardner Dunn and Gianfranco Verga, are hosting a Japanese-inspired punch benefit (as well as Yamazaki Japanese whiskey cocktails) in New York April 11 at the Summit Bar in the East Village, with support from Pernod Absinthe, Belvedere Vodka, Sailor Jerry Rum, Corazon Tequila, Leblon Cachaça, Beefeater Gin, the Tippling Bros. and Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits portfolio.


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