Cocktail Competitions and ABSOLUTas Bartender Auditions

In Washington, D.C., home of the summery Rickey, the DC Craft Bartenders Guild held its annual competition at Derek Brown’s The Passenger, with five finalists and guest judges including Tad Carducci of the Tippling Bros., Charlotte Voisey of Hendrick’s Gin and Jim Hewes of the Round Robin Bar at the Willard. Alexandra Bookless of the Passenger won for her “Root of All Rickey,” a blend of Hendrick’s Gin and Woodford Reserve Bourbon, lime and a house-made, lightly spicy jicama soda. Runner up Dan Searing of Room 11 made his Lemon Balm Rickey using Hendrick’s Gin, lime and (what else?) lemon balm.

Gran Gala ShakedownGran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur has launched an open challenge for bartenders to create its next signature cocktail, with a grand prize of $5,000 and 11 weekly prizes of iPod Nanos. Weekly prizes will be based on the highest number of votes for each week online. The grand prize judging will be based on a variety of criteria. Each entry will receive a total score with a maximum of 100 points awarded. Each cocktail will be mixed by a panel of judges and sampled by each. Each judge will rate the cocktail individually based on taste, originality, ease of preparation, presentation and overall appeal, based in part on consumer vote. For all info and submission requirements, go to

So you think you can mix? In conjunction with ABSOLUT Vodka, LXTV has been holding casting calls across the country to find competitors for “On the Rocks,” the reality series that crowns America’s Top Bartender (a la “Top Chef” and myriad other competition shows). Whether that person is actually the top bartender is another question; this is, after all, a reality show. What you want to ask yourself is, “Do you want to win $100,000, the top prize?” I suspect many heads are shaking. Today, August 10, auditions are going on in Chicago; Philly is Aug. 15, Miami Aug. 17, Dallas Aug. 19, Las Vegas Aug. 22 and Boston Aug. 25. For all info, including rules, locations and such, go to

Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur is kicking off the brand’s annual bartender competition by expanding nationwide. The grand prize includes a trip for two to Oktoberfest in Munich and $1,000 cash, with judges Allen Katz of Southern Wine & Spirits, drink know-it-all gaz regan of, barmen Dushan Zaric of NYC’s Employees Only & Macao Trading Co., Tad Carducci of Tippling Brothers and Phil Ward of NYC’s Mayahuel. Six recipes will be selected for the final round, held Sept. 20 in New York City. Additionally, the audience favorite will take home a check for $1,000. To enter the competition, visit and complete the registration form by Aug. 23. You must be at least 21 years of age to enter.


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