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Martinis & Mistletoe Contest Heating Up

Mike Anderson had so much fun at last year’s Martinis & Mistletoe event that he is coming back for more. He has divulged the drink that he is preparing — ‘Partridge in a Peartini’ but not the delivery method for the drink.

While most bartenders are content to mix the drink and hand it over, Anderson has other ideas. As some may recall, Anderson had an exotic igloo express rigged up to deliver last year’s drink, so this year’s method will be sure to surprise guests as well.

The ingredients for this year’s drink are no secret; they will be Grey Goose LaPoire, amaretto, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice.

"I had a great time last year," said Anderson. "We’re very excited about it and I encourage everyone to come down and vote for Mango Mike’s, which, hands down, will be the best."

Last year was the first time for the Martinis & Mistletoe event, but it was so successful that the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce is holding it again.

More than 230 people attended last year as 14 bars went head to head in a battle for the title of ‘Best Martini in Alexandria.’ The Carlyle Club sparkled with holiday cheer as smiling faces, old and new, speculated as to who they thought would win. Entertainment Sponsor, Simpson Development presented music by the Satin Doll Trio, who will be back again this year.

In the end, last year’s runner up was Fernando Tejeda of La Tasca with his Sangriatini. The third place winner, Andres Lazo of Mango Mike’s picked up a $100 gift certificate to the Carlyle Club with his delicious Havana Banana Split Martini; $100 went to the second place winner, Las Tapas’ Diana Morgan for her Sangritini. The winner of $400 and the title of "Best Martini in Alexandria" was Clinton Terry of Restaurant Eve/PX with his Kissing Santa Martini.

According to Todd Thrasher, Clinton Terry will be back again representing Restaurant Eve.

"He will have a good cocktail — much different from last year," said Thrasher. When asked if Restaurant Eve would be the winner again, Thrasher said, "It’s no fun competing if you don’t win."

Several other participants from last year have already signed up for this year’s event, among them: Finn & Porter's, Jackson 20, Landini Brothers and St. Elmo's Coffee Pub.

Some new players are joining the competition: Vermillion, Columbia Firehouse, Federal City Caterers, Bistro on First, Ramparts, South Side and Redpeg Marketing will be collaborating on a drink with Guiffre Distributors.

Union Street Public House is making its first appearance with bartender Zack Johns, who has been working on a specific recipe called the stained glass martini. It consists of Apple Brandy, Barenjager honey liquor) and Rooibus tea from Old Town Coffee Tea & Spice.

"I came up with the liquors about two years ago," said Johns. "I was in a cold area playing music and put the two liquors together and it warmed us up. I was going to use a caramel liqueur, but I needed something to cut the liquor. I’m looking forward to it."

Martinis & Mistletoe will be held on Thursday Dec. 17, from 6-9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites at 625 First Street. To register for this event, visit www.alexchamber.bluekeyinc.com/view_events.php. The entrance fee is $75 for members and $90 for non-members. Any bar/restaurant interested in competing should contact Janelle Schmidt at jschmidt@alexchamber.com or 703-339-3808. The entrance fee this year is $150 with prizes for the top three drinks totaling $850. Sponsorships are still available for this event.