Meanwhile at the last Underground Bar Brawl Club…
Drinks were pouring, cocktail shakers shaking, laughs & good times were flowing. It was another Las Vegas community cocktail-bash meant to strengthen and unify our brotherhood of bartenders (including sisters, of course!). Yes, it was a great success.
From experienced competitors to first-timers, it was collaboration of some of our best and an expression of what we can be. Held at Off the Strip at the Linq, this not-for-profit competition was started by local barmen; this particular episode was sponsored by A Hardy and it’s Armagnac de Montal. This “spirit of the musketeers” was used in a number of delightful libations, all centered on the classic Cognac cocktail, the Side Car.
Competitors brought their A-games with a number of playful variations. From Blood Orange Marmalade, to Ancho Chile, the drinks were tantalizing to all of the senses. With the bartenders going head to head and sharing the same well, it fostered a number of interesting interactions. Most notably the now famous “piggy-back” bartending style invented by Kinson Lau and Jason Hughes. As well as the salacious co-ed “shake off” between Ramon Ordoñez and Shauna Cordova.
(Jason and Kinson enjoying the evening)
The second round was “freestyle” and used an atypical creamy liqueur made by Cinnabon. The competitors came out swinging while utilizing this challenging ingredient. The judges, myself included, were very surprised at the inventive and varied “a la minute” cocktails using this unique spirit.
By the time the judges calculations were complete, it was too close to call. The competition ended with a tie for 1st and 2nd place. Of course the UBBC, could not finish like that. So what came next…?
A FIZZ OFF!!! The final challenge continued with a variation of the Fizz, between Eric Hobbie and Jessica Lee Westergom. A “no-garnish allowed” Armagnac Fizz using only Lemon, Sugar, Armagnac and Cointreau.
It was a very interesting challenge because it showed the subtleties of the simplest ratios. A textbook demonstration of the all-important minutia which are vital to masterful drink-making. Keeping in mind the dilution via ice, how hard to shake or to stir, down to the the temperature of the seltzer, were all important and vital. A good lesson to all.
In the end, the winner became apparent. Jessica took it home with her vibrant rendition of the Armagnac Fizz! A superb end to an amazing night!
Congrats to Jessica, all of the contestants, A Hardy, and to you Vegas! Salute!
1st Place -Jessica Lee Westergom of the Sand Dollar
2nd Place -Eric Hobbie of Giadas
3rd Place -Ramon Ordoñez of Gordon Ramsay Pub
All hail the Underground Bar Brawl Club! See you again