For the Love of Cocktails is almost here! It is three nights of wine, food, cocktails & celebration for charity. Smack dab in the middle of the event, is the Food Truck Cocktail Wars/Downtown Bar Crawl brought to you by the Las Vegas chapter of the USBG and Back Bar USA. This event allows chef and barman to come together in support of the Helen David Relief Fund. Cocktails and Dishes prepared by some of the best in the business will be paired together for heavenly results. The best one will take home the title!

Thursday, February 11th 10PM!

Here’s a preview on two of the competitors:

Team #1: Representing FAIR Spirits and The Goodwich -Rob Amato & Joshua Clark

Cocktail Ammunition/Spirit Sponsor: Ron Zacapa


“I’m very excited about the event. The last 2 years, I have worked at two boutique wholesalers; At one, I was a Spirits Manager and the other, I was the Director of Beverage Development. Currently, I am the Brand Ambassador for FAIR Spirits here in Nevada. Without giving to much away, my game plan is to create a cocktail that compliments the chefs creation. We have met and have discussed strategy. As much as I want to give a preview, I don’t really want to give anything away.”

Rob Amato


“We are all excited for the event and it should be fun! Although we are competitive, we are also excited to be a part of it and look forward to cooking with fellow friends at this event. Our game plan is to have fun and make it a fun experience for all the guests. I am certain we can all provide some tasty bites and sips for the masses!! We have a theme and we have synergy; we will have a great time with all involved. It’s about the teamwork between Bartender and Chef when they come together to create a delicious pairing and then share it. That is both the challenge, and the best part!!”

Chef Joshua Clark


For tickets and info:

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On a cool December morning, a dozen mixologists and USBG members got together at RX Boiler Room in the name of competition and to celebrate many of FAIR‘s spirits. RX Boiler Room has been a champion for our local cocktail renaissance just as FAIR has been for products made with integrity. All of FAIR’s products are certified fair trade and made with Non GMO ingredients which proves that profits and passion can coexitst.

The prizes:

1st place 250.00 cash, a copper Persian shaker and a Guest shift at RX Boiler Room
2nd place 150.00 cash and a copper Persian shaker
3rd place 100.00 cash and a copper Persian shaker
4th place a copper Persian shaker
5th place a copper Persian shaker

The Products:
FAIR Quinoa Vodka- made from Certified fair trade Non GMO Red Quinoa from the foot hills of Bolivia, distilled in a column still in Cognac France.
FAIR 5 year old Belize Rum – Made from Certificated fair trade High test molasses from sugar cane from Belize, distilled in a hybrid still, pot and column still aged for 5 years
FAIR Goji Liqueur – Made from Certificated fair trade Himalayan/ Tibetan Goji berries, macerated in neutral gran spirit for 36 hours with the addition of Malawi sugar
FAIR Cafe Liqueur -Made from Certificated fair trade Coffee beans from Huatusco region of Veracruz in Mexico , macerated in neutral gran spirit for 3 weeks with the addition of Malawi sugar



1st Place Cocktail:

Jason Hughes



“True Expressions”


1.5oz Fair Vodka.

.75oz Fair Goji.

1.5oz Organic Tangerine juice.

.5oz Locally sourced Dessert Blossom Sage/Mango Honey infused with Pink Peppercorn.

.75oz Citrus (Key lime/Lemon).

1-2 Dashes Spiced Fig Bitters.


1st. Start by making the cocktail twice. One cocktail is for the glass, and the second is for the garnish. Adding 1-2% per volume of gelatin to the cocktail and adding heat to the mixture allows the chemical bond to happen. Chill for a few hours to let harden.


Cocktail Glass.


Cocktail Jellies and a Goji/Pink peppercorn rim.


2nd place

Jaiver Ramirez


“The BeanStalk of Belize”

2oz of fair rum
1oz of house made brown Sugar and chipotle simple syrup
.5oz of dubonet
1oz of coffee infused fair vodka
Stirred in ice poured over ice coffee cubes and a touch of house made ginger beer

3rd place

Adam Carol


“Fair to Farmers”

1.5 oz Fair Rum

.75 oz Lime Juice

.75 oz Cherry/Red bell pepper Simple Syrup

Topped with a Smoked Fair Goji Foam

Coupe Glass

Red Bell Pepper String around the Cherry

4th place

Sarah Freedman


“Beet me Bloody”

1.5 oz fair vodka
1/2 oz vanilla simple syrup
2 tsp blood orange marmalade
3-4 small pieces of cooked beets
3 oz DRY Blood Orange soda

Muddle beets and SS. Add vodka and marmalade and shake with ice. Top off with soda.

5th place

Greg Rodriguez


“Harvey in the Cadillac”

2oz FAIR Qunioa Vodka

1oz Galliano

¾ oz Lemon Juice

Shake, Double strain into frozen double rocks glass.

Top it off with Orange Cadillac Foam

Orange Cadillac Foam

In the ISI Whipper I will pour:

4oz Orange Juice

3oz Egg Whites

2oz Grand Marnier

4 Dashes of Peach Bitters

Charge the whipper with 2 CO2 cartridges.


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For the Love of the Cocktail is well on the way to building a legacy. Every year since its conception, For the Love of the Cocktail’s attendance numbers have grown and the event has gained much acclaim. It is a continuation of the legacy of Helen David, and supports breast cancer awareness, while doing it with a lot of style.

This year the Las Vegas chapter of the USBG is again a proud partner with For The Love Of Cocktails which now has expanded from one event to a three-day long cocktails-for-charity festival. It brings together minds from all over the world with our own vibrant beverage community, all in support for a vital community program.

Out of the many happenings, one of the most alluring events is the USBG Downtown Bar Crawl and Food Truck Cocktail War. It is sure to delight both casual cocktailians as well as bona fide cocktail nerds with a one-of-a-kind culinary/mixological experience.

It is taking place Thursday, February 11th in Downtown Las Vegas. With leadership from our very own chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, this unparalleled event brings together booze slingers from some of the top bars in the city with Las Vegas-based world class chefs. It will be an all out food truck smackdown equipped with savory sippers, tantalizing tangy tasters and all of the competitors will be sure to bring the goods!

The chefs and mixologists are already strategizing for this culinary feat of strength; I spoke with one of the teams which includes Gina Marinelli of D.O.C.G. and USBG member Julian Luna. Gina, who is a very talented and veteran competitor exclaimed, “I am very excited to participate in this event. My game plan is to stay focused and have a lot of fun with this competition. I believe my experiences in previous competitions will help me settle any nerves and keep me calm. I love cooking on food trucks and enjoy great battles. This keeps me young and on my toes!” Her partner Julian Luna added, “I think our game plan will be to learn about who we are as a people and to play off our individual styles. Of course, hospitality will be a huge focus. We need to make sure we create a show with a warm inviting atmosphere. I won’t call it a preview, but just know that anything we do will catch your eye and cause you to think!”

While cocktails and food pairings are under-utilized in the culinary and beverage world, USBG and BackBar realize this and are again pushing the boundaries regarding the craft of bartending. They realize that the opportunities for flavor proliferation and acceleration are astounding. The use of spice and flavors, compounding together has the potential to bring you to the pinnacle of flavor but if not used correctly can fall flat on their face. Julian Luna added, “I think this event is necessary to revitalize restaurants in general; many are one sided and to win this event you have to showcase a marriage between the two: restaurant and bar; good, good and good drinks!”

For all those who attend, the chefs will be serving samples of their culinary delights paired with the cocktails of the mixologists. The truck as a team will be judged on the pairings and all six teams will be vying for the perfect pairing as well as the Grand Prize of $1500. The three judges will be comprised of front & back of the house and a very special guest. There is also a crowd favorite prize of $500 bucks for the team that can most successfully woo the crowd!

The event will also include a multi-venue bar crawl and drinks made by cocktail god and champion for the cause, Tony Abou-Ganim. The Vegas icon will be preparing Helen David’s famous Tom & Jerry Cocktail! This unique cocktail is a blend of a brandy, spiced rum and holiday spices and is served hot. All proceeds from the Tom & Jerry stand will go directly to the Helen David Relief Fund. Ticket sales proceeds will go to the USBGLV and $5 of every ticket will go directly to the Helen David Relief Fund.

For ticket sales and information, click here.

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December 1st: Last Slinger Standing Qualifier

With some near misses in the last couple of years at  Arizona Cocktail Week, Las Vegas intends to have a strong presence for 2016. Tuesday, December 1st the Las Vegas qualifier for the upcoming Last Slinger Standing competition was held at Herbs & Rye.

IMG_0018All of the competitors brought their A-games with each heat being head to head format. Every round included a number of possible choices that could be made by the bartender but were held with in the parameters of a base spirit and secret ingredient.  The action was fast, and the competitors were full of inventive uses of ingredients such as Chamomile all of the way to Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra. IMG_0017

IMG_0019In the end, Eric Hobbie of Giada’s came out on top with an amazing performance.  Alex Peñalosa, Philip Dow and Jessica Lee Westergom also rocked it out and will be joining him in Arizona to represent Vegas! Wish them luck and come and support them at the AZ Cocktail Week!

For more information go to





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By Raul Faria

The USBGLV recently got the opportunity to sample some of Tieton Cider’s core craft line of products and learn what makes a craft cider, well, craft. Sales Manager V.P. os Sales and Marketing Braden Andreas gave us an overview of the organic farming techniques and long history of the family farm where all the apples and of course the cider come from. The apples themselves are also quite unique and help separate Tieton from some of the more commercial brands.

Harmony Farms

Organically grown in Yakima Washington for the last 25 years on a farm that began operation in 1920. The apples grown there are varietals that were used to make the kind of cider that was consumed in colonial times. These particular wild apples are typically not suited for raw consumption as they are pretty bitter, they do however make a cider that is full of flavor and complexity.

The Apples

Farmers Craig and Sharon Campbell began by planting 25 different varieties of bitter sharp/sweet cider apples and narrowed it down to ten that are used in their craft line. They also are one of the few farms in the U.S. that grows genuine perry pears for use in their sparling perry.

The Ciders

Tieton Cider has a diverse portfolio of Ciders, Perrys and even desert wines. They event make a session cider called Rambling Route. Click here to check out the entire portfolio.

Cider Shake

Cider Shake is a cocktail competition accepting recipes as we speak. Rules are simple, use any of the Ciders in the portfolio with the exception of Rambling Route, film a small video of you making it and post it to YouTube. Get the most likes and win $2000. With plenty of variety and flavor profiles I am really excited to see what our members will come up with. Deadline is December 31st. Click here for the complete set of rules.

For more information on Tieton Cider and the Cider Shake competition go to You can also reach out to Braden Andreas at Tieton Cider is distributed through Wirtz Beverage.




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This month’s roundtable brought together some of our cities best with Steve Olson & Michael Gardner. It was a unique opportunity to learn about the passion that is put into each bottle of Del Maguey as well as the chance to taste many rare mezcals. For more information about Del Maguey click here! You v=can also submit your favorite recipe to Del Maguey to be featured on their website here.

This month’s roundtable brought together some of our cities best with Steve Olson & Michael Gardner. It was a unique opportunity to learn about the passion that is put into each bottle of Del Maguey as well as the chance to taste many rare mezcals.

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