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Issue: Arizona Cocktail Week 2013
Arizona Cocktail Week "Last Slinger Standing" Competitors

by: Breanne DeMore

Ladies and Gentlemen: the Panel is heading to the desert! The 2nd Annual Arizona Cocktail Week takes place this February 16-22, and THE TASTING PANEL is proud to be the official trade media sponsor. The week includes an array of activities, including THE TASTING PANEL Magazine's Lobby Bar and a Cocktail Carnival, both at Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho.

But one of the week's most exciting events takes place on the evening of February 18 at Old Town Scottsdale's Red Revolver Lounge. The Last Slinger Standing Competition pits some of the best bartenders from across the state against one another by giving them five minutes each to come up with a delicious cocktail using a top-secret ingredient. As the competition gets closer, THE TASTING PANEL will be profiling the men and women who will be battling for the coveted title of "Last Slinger Standing." Check back soon as we will be adding these slick slingers periodically in the weeks leading up to the event!

For more information, visit www.arizonacocktailweek.com.  


Andrew Record




Andrew Record, Playground Bar & Lounge



Name?
 Drew Record


Where do you work?
 Playground Bar & Lounge


What city do you live in?
Tucson


What is your "desert island" cocktail?  
Negroni Sbagliato. What else do you need? Bubbles and bitters.


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why?  
Singapore Sling: a cocktail that offers a little bit of someting for everyone. Sweet, savory, boozey & tart. Fits on nearly any kind of cocktail list.


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
I tend to tell really bad puns. Once, I told a group of mathematicians sitting at my bar that I had to cut them off because it was illegal in the state to drink and derive. Needless to say, the silence was deafening.


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
Don't get too crazy with the spins of the flavor wheel.


Any secret weapons?
Rules seem pretty clear cut on the use of outside ingredients . . .




Karl Goranowski



Karl Goranowski, Scott & Company


Name?
Karl Goranowski


Where do you work?
Scott & Company


What city do you live in?
Tucson


What is your "desert island" cocktail? 
151 Daiquiri


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why? 
151 Daiquiri because there is more then meets the eye in that cocktail


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
None? Everything? Giving the wrong credit card to the wrong peson? I do not look for absolute highs or lows.


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
I am going to make the best drink i can in the time allotted, that's it.


Any secret weapons?
I make 200 dealers choice cocktails a week and get very honest feed back all the time, this contest is just another day at work

 




Abby Martinie




Abby Martinie, Noca



Name?
Abby Martinie


Where do you work? 
Restaurant Noca


What city do you live in? 
Phoenix


What is your "desert island" cocktail? 
If I were stranded on a desert island, my drink of choice would be a Negroni. Although Mai Tai and Daquiris seem more appropriate, this perfect combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari is something I never tire of, and did a fine job of rescuing me from the Phoenix heat this summer.


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why? 
The obvious choice is a Martini. Aside from sharing the same name, I find this full spirited beverage to be classic. Martinis always seem to warrant a good time, and are not for the unadventurous sipper.


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
I would have to say, my most embarrassing bar moment happened this past Halloween while guest bartending at Kazimierz Wine Bar. Encouraged to dress up, my costume included a very large "Barbarella-esk" hairdo, done so by an incredible amount of hairspray. While delivering a cocktail across the bar to the owner, Peter Kasperski, a lock of my flammable 'do slipped into a bar tea light. Hearing a sizzling noise in my ear, I quickly patted the lit area to put out my singed locks. The smell was unmistakeable. Yuck. A dear friend who came to show her support asked, "Oh, my God, Abby! Are you okay?!" to which I nervously replied, "And for my next trick..."

 
Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
I'd like to further educate myself on unfamiliar products, and/or techniques. I feel honored (and surprised!) to have made it to this next round, and simply want to do my best.


Any secret weapons?
If I told you, I'd have to kill you. 


 
Aaron DeFeo




Aaron DeFeo, Casino Del Sol



Name? 
Aaron DeFeo


Where you work? 
Casino Del Sol


What city do you live in? 
Tucson


What is your "desert island" cocktail? 
Lisbon Blonde - White Port, Averna Amaro, and tonic water with a lemon twist.  Or maybe a Tequila Mule…  I once drank nothing but tequila for almost eight months, and I think it actually gave me special powers.


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why?
Probably a traditional daiquiri, made 50/50 with Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum and Smith & Cross Navy Rum.  Like the cocktail, I am balanced on the surface, but once you get to know me, the horror show starts.


Most embarrassing moment behind the bar? 
When people could smoke in bars, I used to do the old "light a matchbook and flick it behind my back" trick… it seemed to always get me great tips from smokers.  The lit match & matchbook would slide perfectly down the bar and stop in front of a pretty gal who had a cigarette in her mouth.  One time I actually flicked the matchbook in a high arc and it landed directly down the front of some woman's shirt.  She didn't tip.


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
 Last year, my strategy was to survey the bar and make a quick mental note of all the classic cocktails I could do riffs on using the ingredients provided.  My hangover was so intense that, needless to say, my strategy kind of went out the window.

 
Any secret weapons?  
I pity the fool who has to go up against me if gin or tequila is involved.





  Matt Farrow



Matt Farrow, Windsor

Name?
Matt Farrow


Where do you work?
Windsor


What city do you live in?
Phoenix, AZ


What is your "desert island" cocktail?
My desert island cocktail would be a Boulevardier.


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why?
The cocktail that would best describe me would be a Mai Tai. Not too serious, classic, and fun.


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
My most embarrassing moment behind a bar was the time I spilled an entire pitcher of Margarita on a 90 year old woman on her birthday in front of her entire family. Not good.


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
My strategy is to keep it simple.


Any secret weapons?
I don't have a secret weapon, but I will have a paring knife.



Chistina Atkinson



Christina Atkinson, Mabel's on Main


 Name?
Christina Atkinson


Where do you work?
Mabel's on Main


What city do you live in?
Scottsdale


What is your "desert island" cocktail?
Anything with fresh fruit and herbs.


f you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why?
It would probably be a variation on a classic Silver Fizz. I love experimenting with egg whites and gin is my favorite spirit. 


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
This happened recently actually. I am notorius for not screwing the nozzle to our soda guns on all the way, and when attempting to re-fill a water, the nozzle accidentally fell off and water squirted all over a poor woman's neck. Thank goodness I have horrible aim and didn't shoot it into her eye or something.   


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
Keep it simple. Don't overthink it.


Any secret weapons?
Possibly...

 

 



Justin Pharias



Justin Pharias, of Montelucia Resort's MBar


Name?
Justin Pharias


Where do you work?
Mbar at the Montelucia Resort 


What city do you live in?
I live in Downtown Phoenix


What is your "desert island" cocktail?
Mai Tai?


If you had to pick a cocktail to describe you, what would it be and why?
Old Fashion…  a little sweet, a little tough, but always a good choice!


What is your most embarrassing moment behind the bar?
Ripped the behind out of my pants while going commando during a busy happy hour. Had to hide until someone could bring me a new pair.


Do you have a strategy going into the Last Slinger Standing Competition?
Simple, elegant  cocktails.


Any secret weapons?
Wouldn't be a secret if I told you...


Anything else that you would like to add?
I am really excited to  be a part of this competition that brings the best of Phoenix and Tucson head to head on very level playing field. Win or loose, it's going to be great event, with some great cocktails.

 

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