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The Last Judging Night of the May Martini Mix-Off

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I can't believe it. It's almost over. One last night. Judges do return the following Tuesday at a private affair to pick the top winners from the finalists, but for the general martini mavens out there, you'll have one last chance to join the judges and watch their faces as they sip the spirits. It's not too late to use all your martini tickets, make a big night of it, hit the town and become a Gin-soaked girl (or boy).

The night begins at the Gamekeeper Lounge, Boise's traditional hotel bar. Bartenders Christian Richards and Steve Hathaway will serve up the Old Time Bleus, a classic Tanquerey martini with a blue cheese olive. Coming next down the pipe will be the specialty martini Cherries Jubilee, a new take on the Gamekeeper's signiature dessert. This Stoli Vanilla, Tuaca, cream and cherry juice concoction will sweeten the evening. The Absolut martini will be the Electric Lemon Drop, an Absolut Citron and Bacardi Limon lemon drop tinged with blue curacao.

Next up will be a newcomer on the bar scene, Pair. But one of last year's champion bartenders, Keven Farney (former of Red Feather), will be serving up a trio of drinks with Jen Koble. The Mr. Winston, a Boodles gin martini served naked (no vermouth) will be the driest martini of the contest for sure. An Idaho product, 44 North Idaho Huckleberry Vodka will constitute their specialty martini, the I'm Your Huckleberry. The Dame Taylor, a lavender and Absolut Mandarin with Cointreau and a lavendar sugar rim will top off the lineup.

Finally, Mai Thai, perhaps one of the most underrated bars in town, will finish the evening with bartender Bill Roberts. Going for simplicity, they call their classic martini "The Classic," and make it with Bombay Sapphire, Noilly Pratt vermouth with a twist. You can't beat going traditional. Their specialty drink, the Liquid Kitty, may be a surprise-a tropical-themed lounge martini with Courvoisier, Amaretto and pineapple juice. The ninth martini of the night will be Wake Up Hazel with Frangelico and Starbucks coffee Liqueur.

Martini Mix-Off tickets are available for $60 at any participating restaurant. A ticket entitles you to one martini of your choice at all 12 bars and restaurants. Not only that, it gets you into the gala event on June 4 and a final 13th drink at the Boise Art Museum Martini Gala. Enjoy your martinis at each participating restaurant during the entire month of May or join the judges this Thursday night. Proceeds go to benefit the Boise Art Museum.

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