While brawls in bars have long favored brawn over brain, Sanctuary Resort's new cocktail competition series, Bar Brawl, will favor the more cerebral elements of the bar — the gloves-off, hands-on crafting of fine cocktails. And competitors will be under just a little bit of pressure, with a champion's trip to Vegas on the line.
Beginning on this Sunday, July 18, a series of cocktail competitions will take place weekly at the Sanctuary Resort's Jade Bar. Each night, two local bartenders will compete under pre-determined guidelines using one focal spirit with which they are to build their drinks around.
Each competition will start at 8:30 p.m. (doors will open at 8 p.m.) and will be refereed by Jade Bar lead mixologist Eddie Garcia and emceed by in-house celebrity Chef Beau MacMillan.
The kitchen is involved, too. A "Bar Bites" menu will feature reverse happy hour-priced snacks such as charred edamame, blistered shishito peppers, "fiery" calamari, and quick-fried cauliflower.
It looks like the competitive spirit is catching on in Phoenix, undoubtedly thanks to shows like Esquire Network's Knife Fight. Here, competitive spirit will give way to spirit competition, and the first focal spirit will be a blank slate: vodka. The bartenders? Keifer Gilbert of Counter Intuitive and Andrew Calistereo of Bar Crudo. It promises to be an exciting bout to kick things off.
Here's the full schedule:
· July 19: Vodka | Keifer Gilbert of Counter Intuitive vs. Andrew Calisterio of Crudo
· July 26: Gin | Stephanie Teslar of Blue Hound Kitchen vs. Michael Liberatore of Citizen Public House
· August 9: Bourbon | Clint Spotleson of Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel vs. Tony Pharias of Tarbell’s
· August 16: Rum | Kyle Mason of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia vs. Alexa Bowler of Olive & Ivy
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· August 23 and August 30: Two semifinals
· September 13: Championship
For more information about Jade Bar, check Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa website or Facebook.