The hot wind howled and the sun-lit purple mountains loomed in the background as top mixologists from all around the nation geared up to compete in The United States Bartender’s Guild “Mixing Star” finals at The Azure pool on the third floor of Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas Monday night. The event is sponsored by DISARONNO Amaretto Liqueur. On the line was a trip to Mumbai, India for a chance to be in a major Bollywood film. Contestants were challenged to make an original cocktail with at least .5 OZ of DISARONNO Amaretto Liqueur, and they had to fight to get here.
Representing Las Vegas were Patricia Richards of Wynn Resorts, and Roger Gross of The Vesper Bar in Cosmopolitan. Gross effortlessly took second place with “Chance Encounter.” Gross is a true natural who just looks like the kind of guy you want mixing your drinks. He was one of the last to perform at the competition which had run about two hours long, and he just kicked it with some hotties before moseying up to the bar to nail a close second.
Richards commanded the audiences attention with elegant charm, and adorned the judges and guests with flower pedals before preparing “Mai Chai.” She was decked out in full-on Indian garb. Dot, and the whole nine. Richards had ‘em all beat in the personality and showmanship department. Not a surprise when you consider that Tony Abou-Ganim , who was there to cheer her on, is her mentor.
Taking first place was Julio Cabrera of Sra. Martinez’s in Miami. He had the “Dr. Mixology” thing going on. Complete with a giant flavor-injecting syringe, and a hot nurse assistant. (His wife)
He went on third, when the sun was only half set and most of the crowd was still half focused, but his stage presence and humble demeanor, mixed with obvious skill, quickly drew the crowd in as he performed surgery on “Pearfecta,” the cocktail that’s taking him to India. Congratulations Julio!
Congratulations are due to all of the contestants for making it as far as they did in the competition. Getting here takes skill, and each one of them have charisma to spare. This must have been hard for the judges, because there wasn’t one average drink. Each cocktail had the earmarks of a master mixologist. I’d like to give Thanks to all of the bartenders and mixologists for coming out here and sharing the love Monday night. Their passion was inspiring. Cheers! You’re all mixing stars in my book.
1 oz. DISARONNO
1 oz. Remy Martin VSOP
.75 oz.Pear Nectar
.25 oz.Herbes de Provence Honey Syrup
.5 oz.Lemon Juice
- Shake and serve up in a martini glass.
- Rim the glass with Herbes de Provence powdered sugar
- Garnish with fresh pear slice
1.5 oz. DISARONNO
1 oz. Zaya rum
1 oz. Lime juice
3 cardamom pods
.5 oz Caramelized Pineapple puree
1 Egg White
3 dashed Tiki Bitters
- Muddle cardamom.
- Add rest of ingredients.
- Dry shake. Then Shake with ice.
- Strain into cocktail glass.
- Garnish with 3 cardamom pods.
(No photo available for cocktail, camera died. Sorry.)
.75 oz Amrut Indian Single malt whiskey
.25 Amrut sherry cask singe malt whiskey
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Agave nectar
1 dash angostura bitters
- Combine all ingredients.
- Shake and strain into old fashioned glass with crushed ice.
- Garnish with kumquat and clove.
|Right Photo:Tony Abou-Ganim (center) cheering on his friend|