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May Martini Month

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For the past five years, May was synonymous with the swankyman's sippable shot. Well-heeled wastoids descended on downtown in droves, Martini Mix-Off tickets in hand, to sip the fruits of local bartenders' boozy labor. And though the martini hasn't disappeared from local bar menus this year, the Martini Mix-Off, as we know it, has chilled out a bit.

Due to a couple of unfortunate family events, Karen Ellis, Martini Mix-Off organizer and executive director of the Capital City Public Market, was unable to put the energy into organizing this year's event. Luckily, a number of local bars--including Chandlers, Pair, Bardenay, Red Feather Lounge, Angell's, Piper Pub and Bonefish Grill--stepped forward and decided to offer a few specialty martinis for $5 each every Thursday through the month of May.

"Everybody was kind of tuned into drinking martinis in May, so that was our answer this year," said Ellis. "Next year, we'll be able to be back in it and plan it, but it just wasn't happening this year. I just could not find the time or the emotional stamina to get it going."

Though bartenders won't be bound by stringent guidelines as in years past, their martini creations will still be critiqued by a panel of secret judges.

"We're going to do a little blind judging," said Ellis. "The bars can do whatever martinis they want for $5, but the judges will just judge a classic and then they're going to judge a specialty."

Call it May Martini Month or the Martini Mix-Off, but the event's essential draw has remained intact: high-falutin' hooch, lapped up at low prices.

"We're just doing a really low-key thing ... it's kind of time to shake it up anyway, no pun intended," said Ellis.

Every Thursday through Thursday, May 27, $5, various locations downtown. For more information, contact karen@seeyouatthemarket.com.

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