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Two Miami Mixologists Compete Today in U.S. Bartender of the Year Showdown

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Julio Cabrera (Regent Cocktail Club) and Michael Parish (Broken Shaker) are heading to the Big Apple to represent the 305 in one of the country's most prestigious bartending competitions -- the U.S. Bartenders' Guild (USBG) and World Class U.S. "U.S. Bartender of the Year" competition. Both Miami mixologists won a coveted place in the competition for their superior original cocktails.

The two-day competition starts today, June 3, and will pit 20 of the nation's finest mixologists against each other for five rounds of challenges.

The challenges test each bartender's knowledge of spirits, mixing skills, showmanship, and creativity, including a "Retro Chic" challenge (where bartenders will be tested on their knowledge of classic cocktails and their ability to create original cocktails based on classics); a "Food Pairing" challenge; a "Ritual Theater" challenge (where bartenders will present judges with a signature bottle serve inspired by the holiday of their choice); a "Cocktails Against Clock" challenge; and a "Brand Mastery" challenge.

The winner of the event will be crowned the 2013 U.S. Bartender of the Year and will represent the nation against 49 bartenders from around the globe in the international competition, set to take part on the Azamara Club cruise ship, sailing along the French Riviera from July 4-9, 2013.

If you can't hop a flight to New York City, here are Cabrera and Parish's winning cocktail recipes:

Julio Cabrera's Red Carpet Sling

3/4 ounce Ciroc Vodka

3/4 ounce brut Champagne

3/8 ounce raspberry syrup

3/8 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 dash citrus bitters

Absinthe

Glass: Coupe

Shake vodka, raspberry syrup, lemon juice and citrus bitters vigorously in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Strain into a coupe previously rinsed with absinthe and top with champagne.

Garnish with a white seedless grape stuffed with raspberry preserve and caramelized anise seeds in a fork with lemon spiral.

Michael Parish's Angel Share

3/4 ounce Don Julio reposado tequila

1/8 ounce Italian aperitif

3/8 ounce fresh pineapple juice

1/4 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 ounce agave nectar

Ginger beer

Pinch of Old Bay seasoning

Glass: Collins

Add tequila, Italian aperitif, pineapple juice, lime juice and agave nectar to shaker. Shake and strain into Collins glass rimmed with seasoning. Garnish with pineapple slice. Fill glass half way with crushed ice and top with ginger beer. Fill glass with crushed ice for a "cone" effect.

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