Drinking cocktails around the pool at Drai’s on a Monday afternoon sounds pretty blissful, right? Maybe not when you have to sample and judge more than 30 different cocktails. Actually, no, it still sounds fun. Yesterday, cocktailinistas from the best bars around L.A. and O.C.—The Bazaar, Drago Centro, Rivera, Soho House, La Descarga, among them—competed for the Most Inspired Bartender crown, as doled out by the United States Bartender Guild and GQ. It was a long afternoon (the competition took over four hours), the drinks were strong, the sun hot, but judges Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Jason Schiffer (Seal Beach’s 320 Main), and Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward did their duty to pick a winner. Someone has to do it.
The bartenders had a few minutes to come up with their concoction using Sapphire and an array of herbs, fruits, mixers and syrups. All were vying for a spot in the national competition, which will take place in Vegas, and also a spread in GQ’s Men of the Year issue. Hope the mag has room for a woman: Mia Sarazen from Harvard & Stone topped them all with her “Pool Thyme” cocktail—absinthe, maraschino, lavender and violet peach syrup, gin and thyme.