Ultimate Beverage Challenge Announces Dates and ABSOLUT Crowns Best Bloody

In its third year, Ultimate Beverage Challenge LLC (UBC) has announced the 2012 dates for its trio of beverage challenges. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Ultimate Wine Challenge and Ultimate Cocktail Challenge provide consumers, spirits and wine producers, marketers and importers with valuable and usable ratings, tasting notes and accolades from the most experienced judges in the industry.
• Ultimate SPIRITS Challenge — March 5-9, 2012 — Entry forms available November 29, 2011; entry deadline is February 17, 2012.
• Ultimate WINE Challenge — April 23-27, 2012 — Entry forms available December 13, 2011; entry deadline is April 6, 2012.
• Ultimate COCKTAIL Challenge — June 4-8, 2012 — Entry forms available January 3, 2012; entry deadline is May 18, 2012.
All three Challenges will be held at Astor Center in New York City. Entry forms available at www.ultimate-beverage.com.

On Nov. 14, more than 200 cocktail enthusiasts gathered at the Sons of Essex in NYC to witness the final round of the ABSOLUT Vodka and Thrillist.com National Online ABSOLUT Best Bloody in America Recipe Contest. The competition’s nine finalists arrived in the Big Apple to shake and stir live for the top prize: the coveted ABSOLUT Bloody Trophy and a trip to Sweden, home of ABSOLUT Vodka. The finalists were chosen out of 50 winners from 50 states. To see a list of the Best ABSOLUT Bloody in every state click here. At the end of the evening’s festivities, the crown for the ABSOLUT Best Bloody in America went to Luis Martinez of The Patio in McAllen, Texas, for his ABSOLUT Akita Maria.


Washington, D.C., is home to the fourth leg of a 10-city bartending tour that launched in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Speed Rackan effort to find the fastest female bartender in America, while raising funds for breast-cancer charities. Speed Rack is the only national cocktail competition that features top female bartenders in key cocktail markets and puts them head-to-head in timed challenges. It is the first competition to highlight the up-and-coming generation of strong women in the spirits industry. The Speed Rack tour follows the success of the inaugural Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) Speed Rack competition in New York City this past May, which raised $3,500. After the Boston (Winner: Samantha Kershaw of Citizen/Noir), Portland (Winner: Missy Cross of Sun Liquor in Seattle) and Los Angeles (Winner: Kylee Van Dillen of Westside Tavern), competitions wrapped with $5,000, $3,600 and $4,810 raised respectively. It is now D.C.’s female bartending community’s turn to put their movers and shakers to the test. Following the D.C. competition, Speed Rack will travel to other cocktail-focused cities with strong LUPEC Chapters in 2012, including San Francisco, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas and Chicago. Together the individual competitions have a goal of raising $75,000 before the ultimate Miss Speed Rack is crowned in May 2012 at the national finals in NYC. Additional information can be found on the Speed Rack website, Facebook and on Twitter @speed-rack. To compete, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. Tickets can be purchased at www.speedrackdc.eventbrite.com.

The Museum of the American Cocktail congratulates Chris McMillian for winning this year's New Orleans Magazine Bartender of the Year. Since the museum's first initial exhibit at the Pharmacy Museum in 2005, McMillian was instrumental in leading the effort to establish the museum in New Orleans. From the beginning, he conceived the museum as a resource where expert instruction in mixology could be offered to local bartenders. And he did just that: His MOTAC Monday mixology series is now going on its fifth consecutive year. True to his vision, the program attracts the best presenters in the country and has impacted the mixology community and the local bar scene in Nola.


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