Last night, I met up with Shea, Jessi, Cody, Brian, Helen, Howard and Matt at the Bouquet awaiting the judges' arrival for round two of the Martini Mix Off. With one drink ticket each, we listened as Thomas Paul played live and chose from the 11 Second Martini, the Orange Bouquet and the Ward 43. I joyfully chased the Orange Bouquet's sweet-tart swirl of orange peel to the bottom of my glass.
Staying ahead of the judges, we not-quite-stumbled to Chandler's to be welcomed by the 44 Magnum, the Vesper Reconsidered and the Absolutely Politically Incorrect Barack Opama. The pomegranate-based Opama was a natural choice for me as a lover of all things pink as the glass was rimmed in pale-pink sugar crystals.
Making sure we would be there to greet the judges, we tossed back our 'tinis and made haste to Pair where the staff was in character for a '70s, Charlie's Angels theme. A short, funny performance was followed by a difficult decision between the Blue-by-You, the French Connection and the Limonare. The only way to solve what was turning out to be a problem was to make sure we had at least one—or two or three—of each so we could all taste them.
The night was surprisingly and pleasantly interrupted by the Fire and Police Pipes and Drums Pub Crawl to benefit an injured comrade, Scott Doyle. Be-kilted men and women and a melodic cacophony of bagpipes and drums filled posh Pair as the judging came to a close.
The participating bars in this year's Mix Off are Angell's, Bonefish Grill, Red Feather Pair, Tablerock Brewpub & Grill, Piper Pub & Grill, Chandlers Steakhouse, The Bouquet and Bardenay and, if I did the math right, next week's Mix Off will be at Tablerock, Piper Pub and Bardenay. Ticket books are $50 at any participating bar or by calling 280-761-5918. And if you missed the first two rounds, don't worry. The tickets are good at each bar for awhile after the competition ends.