Mixology Competition News and Spirited Awards

More than 30 bartenders commanded center stage on the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show floor for the “Shake It Up” cocktail competition. The Southern Wine and Spirits mixology team of judges included Armando Rosario of Las Vegas, Arturo Sighinolfi of Florida and Bridget Albert of Chicago, among others. Daniel Gonzales of the Hotel St. Francis in Albuquerque, N.M., won first place and the prize of $7,500.  Second place went to Charles Joly of The Drawing Room, Chicago; third place was awarded to Mathias Simonis of The Velvet Hour, Milwaukee; fourth place went to Darren West, Aria Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas; fifth place went to John Lermayer of The Florida Room, Miami; and Victoria D’Amato-Moran of San Francisco won the award for best garnish.

Shake It Up cocktails

Gonzales’ winning drink was the Spicy Secreto:
1 ½ ounces Cabana Cachaca
3/4 ounce St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 jalapeno slice (without seeds)
2 cucumber slices
2 ounces fresh sour
New Mexican red chile rim

Muddle jalapeno, cucumber and 1 ounce fresh sour. Rim a tall glass with red chile, and then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Shake and double strain over ice. Garnish with two green chile chopsticks.

Joly placed with his One Night in Rio:
1 ½ ounces Cabana Cachaca
3/4 ounce Aperol
1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce Monin Agave Nectar
5 opal basil leaves

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass; add ice and shake. Strain through sieve into a Highball glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with grapefruit peel and opal basil.

The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2010 sent three American bartenders to New Zealand this week to compete in the sixth annual competition. Todd Thrasher of Arlington, Va.’s PX, Restaurant Eve and The Majestic, Sean Hoard of New York’s PDT and Mark Stoddard of Boulder, Colo.’s Happy Bitter Bar were picked in the U.S. finals March 8 in New York by judges Dale DeGroff, Sam Talbot and Charles Ohlbaum, founder of the Bartenders Academy of New York.

Winning drinks were Thrasher’s “I have too much Thyme on my hands right now at this point in my life” (42BELOW Vodka, Cynar, lime-thyme syrup, dash of homemade apple bitters); Hoard’s Wellington Fizz (42BELOW Kiwi Vodka, lime juice, orgeat syrup, passion fruit puree, heavy cream, egg white, club soda); and Stoddard’s South of Brooklyn (42BELOW Honey Vodka, rye, Amer Picon, maraschino liqueur).

Ten finalists have been picked to compete in this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Tiki Punch-Up competition: Peter Bogren, Kathy Casey, Gina Chersevani, James Goggin, Jason Littrell, Evan Martin, Adam Seger, Chantal Tseng, David Willhite and Timothy Zohn. The winner will be announced March 31.

Think your place is the best? Admire someone else’s work? Nominate your venue or another you admire for Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards program, which will be a worldwide competition in 2010. Categories include World’s Best Drinks Selection, Best American Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Hotel Bar, American Bartender of the Year, International Bartender of the Year, Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book, Best Cocktail Writing, Best New Product, World’s Best Cocktail Menu, Best American Brand Ambassador and the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, named for Tony Abou-Ganim’s late aunt and inspiration. Simon Ford of Pernod-Ricard will head up the competition this year. For more information on entering, visit  http://www.talesofthecocktail.com/events/awards_ceremonies/spirited_awards.

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