Appleton Estate Reserve Competition and the Ladies of LUPEC

The Appleton Estate Reserve Remixology cocktail competition is back with a challenge to create a drink with inspired by favorite published songs. Contestants must be affiliated with an on-premise account and provide a bar/restaurant/club release signed by an authorized officer allowing Appleton to feature and/or mention the establishment in all communication. All ingredients should be available year-round and obtainable — or able to be made from scratch — without undue difficulty or expense. Competition closes July 27, at 8 p.m. EST.

Macchu Pisco has teamed up with the government of Peru for a competition honoring the 100th anniversary of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu by American archaeologist Hiram Bingham. Local events have been held in New York, San Francisco, Boston and other cities, with each local winner getting a trip to Lima, Peru, where the final competition will take place. The grand-prize winner will fly from Lima to Cusco and stay at the 5-star El Monasterio Hotel owned by the Orient-Express, later venturing to Machu Picchu via the Hiram Bingham luxury train. Among the finalists are Thomas Waugh of Death & Co. in New York City, Naomi Levy of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston and Jessica Garcia from Hotsy Totsy in San Francisco.

At the Mondrian Hotel, Mandarine Napoléon engaged South Florida's best bartenders for the "Emperor's Challenge” competition. The winning team, Gaston Cabrera (Baru Urbano, Brickell), Marco Balza (Baru Urbano, Brickell) and Nick Nistico (Buddha Sky Bar/AMG Restaurants), each went home with a Jim Meehan bartending kit and a bottle of the very limited Mandarine Napoléon XO — only 900 were produced. The prizes were valued together at well over $1,000.

The winning cocktail, the Tiny Daiquiri:
2 ounces Mandarine Napoléon
2 ounces white grape sour (1 part fresh lime juice, 2 parts white grape juice, 1 bar spoon of simple syrup )
1 ounce Ruttle Old Simon Genever
1 dash pineapple bitters
1 small egg white
Basil sprig and white grape, for garnish

Build over ice in a pint glass, then shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Spank a fresh sprig of basil and slide around the rim of the glass. Spoke the sprig into a white grape to garnish.

Russian Standard Vodka and the United States Bartenders' Guild announced Alexander Velez as the winner of the first "Emotion In A Glass" national bartender competition. The competition tasked bartenders with creating innovative cocktails inspired by an emotion of their choice; more than 100 bartenders submitted drinks. Velez's Passion cocktail appealed to the expert panel, landing him an educational trip for two to Russia, including a private tour of the Russian Standard distillery in St. Petersburg. Las Vegan J.R. Starkus was selected from among the top 25 as the Russian Standard Vodka Facebook "Consumer Choice" winner; he gets a trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, La.

Speed Rack is a cocktail-making speed competition meant to promote and support female talent in the bartender community while benefitting a breast-cancer charity. Recently presented by Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero of LUPEC NYC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), Speed Rack featured an all-star judging panel (Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Dale Degroff and Jordana Rothman) as well as top female bartenders competing for the title of "fastest bartender." Yael Vengroff from c took first, and Karen Jarmen from Weather Up Tribeca came in second. Speed Rack events will be coming to Boston, San Francisco and Portland, with plans to hit 12 cities eventually. Questions? Write to [email protected].

Yael Vengoff

Yael Vengroff from PKNY took first place at Speed Rack in New York City.

There’s more from the LUPECers: St-Germain presented the first-ever Les Femmes du Bar event, a benefit to support LUPEC NYC, and a tasting of the ladies’ finest cocktail creations inspired by St-Germain’s signature vintage French beauties. St-Germain donated $20 to LUPEC on behalf of each event attendee. Bartenders included Kitty Amann, Amanda Boccato, Meaghan Dorman, Phoebe Esmon, Lynnette Marrero, Franky Marshall, Ivy Mix and Eryn Reece, among others. Event attendees were asked to vote on the team of ladies who best embodied their designated St-Germain inspiration. The winners were Team Tush — Ivy Mix and Natalie Jacobs of New York City's Lani Kai — who served "Apple Bottoms Up."

Bombay Sapphire has launched the 2011 Most Inspired Bartender Search, a chance for bartenders to showcase their imaginations and skills in cocktail invention. In the coming weeks, the brand will begin visiting accounts to invite select bartenders to participate in the contest. The winner will be featured in the 2011 Men of the Year issue of GQ magazine and be invited to participate in the United States Bartenders' Guild Most Inspired Bartender event in Las Vegas from Sept. 11-13. If interested in the competition, contact [email protected] to find out how to enter.

Lastly, but never leastly, a note from the gazzer about his "Annual Manual for Bartenders":

“I want next year's 'Annual Manual' to have more of a global feel to it, and in order to achieve this, I'm asking you to please help out by sending me some details on the people who you think are among the best bartenders in your country. I'll need their name, an email address where I can get in touch with them, the name of the bar at which they work, and I also want to know why you think they are the best of the best. Tell me who you are, too — where you work, etc. — please, and let's see if, together, we can come up with a list of the world's best bartenders for next year's 'Annual Manual.'”

Send the gazzer info about any new techniques you've been using or about bartenders who are now operating viable bar-related businesses. He’s waiting at [email protected].