Vodka Competitions in Finland, Tiki Seminars in Greece

Patricia Richards of Las Vegas placed fourth among 31 of the world’s best bartenders, all of whom braved arctic temperatures in Finland last month for the 12th Annual International Finlandia Vodka Cup. The competition was held in the IceBar at the Snow Village, where bartenders’ fingers and ingredients, such as syrups and juices, froze fast during the finals in which each competitor demonstrated in three categories. Richards beat out six other U.S. bartenders to get there, and she finished higher than any other U.S. contestant in the history of the competition. “The Finlandia Vodka Cup was a phenomenal experience, unlike anything I have ever done in my entire life,” Richards said. “The competition was like a mini-United Nations, as you have bartenders from all over the world with one thing in common, the love of mixology.”

Patricia Richards Vodka Cup

Stan Vadrna is one of the most sought after globetrotting bartending instructors, and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is a Tiki enthusiast, just what a man with a name like Beachbum would be. The odd couple have joined forces to create “Bum Berry’s and Captain Vadrna’s Faux-Tropical Bar School,” a four-day Tiki Bar immersion course, taught, as Berry says, “with the true spirit of Aloha, in a locale that would do Don The Beachcomber proud: the unspoiled Greek island of Antiparos.” The curriculum is geared toward professional bartenders, but we’re told all Polynesiacs are welcome. Classes will include Tiki History, Tropical Mixology, The Cocktail as a Conversation Piece, Tiki Bar Design, The Theater of the Bar, and The Bartender’s Sixth Sense, among others. Saloon economist Jozef Martiniak will also offer practical advice on how to financially float the Tiki bar of your dreams. Four sessions will be held in June and July; each session limited to 15 participants. For all the details, check in here.

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