March 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Cocktail Competitions Galore in New Mexico

"On April 15, The Lodge at Santa Fe, along with Southern Wine and Spirits, hosts the Don Q Rum Mix it Up competition"

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Last night I was honored to be a technical judge at the annual Campari Aperitivo Competition held at Jazzbah in Albuquerque. Seven months ago, New Mexico founded its own chapter of the United States Bartender's Guild which is an international organization promoting the craft of bartending.  We are one of 32 chapters nationwide, and in a very short time we've drawn quite the attention factor to our frequently overlooked state.

Give you an example: back in 2010, our chapter president and bar manager at Jazzbah, Daniel Gonzales, won the Shake it Up! competition in Las Vegas, which is one of the biggest cocktail competitions in the country. Chapter member Alex Velez, a long time competition bartender with several awards under his shaker, won the Campari Aperitivo Competition last night, which takes him to the national competition during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (MCC) in New York this May.  The MCC takes place each spring and is a gathering of bartenders from all over the world who come together to celebrate their craft, attend seminars, compete and, yes, have a few drinks.  The winner from the National Campari competition will go on to Beijing China to compete internationally.

Upcoming here in New Mexico, on April 15, The Lodge at Santa Fe, along with Southern Wine and Spirits, will host the USBG New Mexico chapter's Don Q Rum Mix it Up competition.  This one is open to the public, and tickets will be on sale soon.  Competitors will use the Don Q line of rums to create a Caribbean-influenced drink, and the winner will also win a trip to New York for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic to compete Nationally (your humble host here is one of he judges for the nations!!). The top five winners get a trip to Puerto Rico where they will be included in Don Q next video Series.

Recently as well, two of New Mexico's finest female bartenders got a chance to go head to head at Speed Rack, a competition created by and open only to ladies of the bar where they go in a round robin style in speed and accuracy.  City sponsored competition winners from accross the country also gather in New York for the finals. All proceeds from Speed Rack go to Breast Cancer Research.

Adrienne Miller of Hard Rock Casino and Kate Gerwin of Imbibe Cigar Bar rocked it out in Las Vegas.  Kate came in second place by a mere two seconds.  Fortunately for Kate, Speed Rack has opened a wild card category, and the person with the most votes wins.  Voting is open from now until April 9, and anyone can vote once a day for their favorite bartender.  So New Mexico, please support our home girl, click the link and give her some props.

For more info, check out the videos and links below.

2011 Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Highlights

United States Bartenders Guild New Mexico Facebook Page

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