The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2016

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P H O T O : E V I E C A R PE N T E R / P H O EN I X N E W T I M E S P H O T O : M I N H Q U A N P H O T O : K E I T H CA Y W O O D ARIZONA'S HOTTEST COCKTAIL COMPETITION FIRES UP THE SOUTHWEST FOR THE FIFTH YEAR by Becky Tsadik L ast fall, Arizona Cocktail Week and media sponsor THE TASTING PANEL scoured the Wild Wild West for the best of the best: United States Bartender's Guild Chapters wild card competitors faced off for the opportunity to represent their region at the Fifth Annual AZCW event February 13–21, 2016. The week of fun and celebration of the art of drink goes down at Scottsdale's Hotel Valley Ho, but the hotly-anticipated Last Slinger Standing competition will be live at Culinary Dropout in Tempe, Arizona, on February 15 from 7–10 p.m. Bartenders and mixologists from five Southwestern state teams representing Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico will vie for title of Last Slinger Standing and the Centennial Cup, a cash prize and donation to their local USBG chapter. Here, a quick "shot" of each of the worthy contenders who secured the chance to compete in the double-blind shake-off. May the odds be ever in your favor! Clint Spotleson, Counter Intuitive and La Grande Orange Tasting Room, Phoenix Chad Michael George, Avanti Food and Beverage and The Way Back, Denver Timothy Lafever Jr., Bitter & Twisted and Counter Intuitive, Phoenix Les Baker V, Star Bar, Denver Brittany Marie Wangsness, Baur's Restaurant and Listening Lounge, Denver Matt Martinez, OBON Sushi Bar Ramen, Tucson "I'm excited to get up there again. I competed in the very first Last Slinger, so it feels great to be back after a few years' hiatus." "The most challenging thing about this year's prelims was knowing who I was going up against. We have so many talented bartenders and mixologists here in Arizona. It's an honor to even be in the same class." "I'm most excited about coming to Arizona to show the people of the desert the how we like to party in the Rockies. Coming to set the bar, hearts and eyes on fire there." "I am excited about visiting Phoenix in February. Sounds like great weather." ARIZONA: The Grand Canyon State COLORADO: Centennial State COCKTAIL WEEKS Who Will Be the Last Slinger Standing? Allison Widdecombe, Williams & Graham, Denver Follow us on social media for more in-depth profiles of each contestant in the weeks leading up to the competition, when we get up close and personal with our 2016 Slingers! Facebook: Instagram: @tastingpanel Twitter: @tastingpanel David C. Clark, Cup Café in Hotel Congress, Tucson

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