las vegas weekly: sitting in judgment at bombay sapphire's imaginative bartender search
From Las Vegas Weekly:
Awakening from slumber filled with images of cool water that is always just beyond reach, I squint to decipher the glaring red numbers on the alarm clock: 5:34. The buzz of infomercials resonates through the room. Where am I? Coming to, I realize that I’m home; I have survived. Not the Hunger Games—Round 1 of the cocktail games.
Over the course of two days, 24 contestants gather at Southern Wine & Spirits to compete in the local semifinals of the sixth annual Nation’s Most Imaginative Bartender Search, presented by the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) and GQ magazine. Each bartender is to present a unique recipe using Bombay Sapphire.
It works like this: In one room each bartender has 15 minutes to set up, create and clean up a libation beneath the watchful eyes of USBG Nevada Chapter President Armando Rosario. He rates each performance on technicality, including ice handling, bar tools, spillage and garnish neatness, per the guidelines of USBG.
In another room are the judges: Ray Srp, Bacardi USA portfolio mixologist; Teresa Richardson, USBG national programs director and myself, as a voice of the people. We score each cocktail on practicality, taste/aroma and appearance. We can’t see the bartenders, and they can’t see us. To keep the playing field level, we have no idea who made each cocktail.
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