Winners & Newcomers on the Mixology Scene

Absolut Vodka announced the crowning of Joe Brooks as the winner of “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Top Bartender,” a show that aired on LX.TV. The competition took place at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and was shown on three half-hour episodes that aired nationwide on NBC-owned and -operated stations. Eight finalists were chosen after casting calls and auditions held in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, and they were challenged to demonstrate talent, knowledge, speed, accuracy and agility to get into the big event. Finalists were judged on personality, cocktail preparation and pairing cocktails with food. Brooks, who takes home $100,000, honed his craft at Los Angeles hotspots including the Edison Lounge and Copa D’Oro.

Rico Wisner was the grand prize winner in Cuca Fresca’s “Shake Your Way to Brazil” mixology challenge finals held earlier this month at Chicago’s Encore Liquid Lounge. His winning cocktail, the Punch from Ipanema, was an interpretation of a classic punch and incorporated Cuca Fresca Cachaça, a homemade hibiscus and rooibos tea simple syrup, passion fruit juice, fresh lime juice and Domaine de Canton. The cocktail is featured at Poste Moderne Brasserie in Washington, D.C. Judges included F. Paul Pacult and Sean Ludford. As the grand prize winner, Rico Wisner will be flown to Brazil for a five-day trip that includes a private distillery tour courtesy of Cuca Fresca. Cuca Fresca’s owner, Phoenix Kelly-Rappa, said the brand plans to host a yearly competition.

Rico Wisner Cuca Fresca

Combier introduces more of the family’s products to the states with overwhelming support. Roi René Rouge is a light and fruity liqueur made from sweet and bitter cherries with a recipe created by a nun in 1632. Also, Royal Combier is a blend of Combier’s Orange Liqueur, Cognac and the 19th century liqueur Elixir de Combier (which includes aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron).

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