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Pouring entertainment

Move over, mixologists: Here come the flair bartenders.

Mozambique Steakhouse will be hosting the inaugural “Shake, Rattle and Pour: OC’s Best Bartender Competition" Monday at 7 p.m.

“Flair bartending is such a fun and entertaining part of the hospitality industry that goes unnoticed in Orange County," said Caitlin Smith, a public relations representative for Mozambique Steakhouse. “So we thought why not have a competition to show off the best of the best?"

Selected restaurant bartenders from the Orange County area will choose one of three Mondays (Aug. 18, 25 or Sept. 1) to compete against each other in the preliminary rounds, which consist of a speed challenge of five drinks and best martini.

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Judges will announce the winner each night, during which the finalists will then have the opportunity to compete for the title during the finale on Sept. 8.

“For the finale, competitors will make their signature cocktail, answer bar trivia and answer questions in regards to their knowledge of alcohol," Smith said. “The judges want to see who is the most well rounded, outgoing and passionate about what they do."

The christened best bartender receives a $500 cash prize, a two-night stay at the Hilton Waterfront Hotel in Huntington Beach, and the signature cocktail on OC’s “hottest" drink menu.

Also known as “extreme bartending," flair bartending enhances a guest’s overall experience by adding an entertainment aspect to the mixology and drink-oriented, service-minded bartending. Often compared to a juggler, these specialty bartenders flip multiple bottles or shakers into the air, play with flammable liquors and even perform magic tricks while maintaining the integrity of a mixed drink.

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According the Flair Bartenders Association (FBA) website, the organization boasts more than 12,000 members in more than 152 countries and sponsors contests around the world.

Originally from Brazil, Rodrigo Blascovich has traveled the world as a professional, flair bartender, and will be representing Rockin’ Taco in Fullerton at the contest.

“It’s (flair) more than throwing bottles, because you have to know when to stop and make the drink. It’s all in the timing."

Another competitor, Will Fraker, of Bottles & Tins catering service in Laguna Niguel, describes flair as a form of expression.

“I am not just a drink maker; I am a personality behind the bar, so I like to entertain my guests as well as talking and interacting," Fraker said. “It’s one of the best forms of expression."

Either way, the contest is a great excuse to taste those cocktails that you’ve always wanted to try while cheering on your favorite bartender.

“We know that the event will attract a lot of folks who are in our industry, and it is always a privilege to be of service to those that share our passion for the business," said Tony Shill, co-owner of Mozambique Steakhouse.

For more information or a contest entry form, call Caitlin at (714) 754-7477.

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SPECIALTY DRINKS

African Sunset

?1.5 ounces Premium Citrus Vodka

?Equal parts of fresh guava nectar and pineapple juice

?Serve chilled

Xai Xai

?1.5 ounces light citrus rum

?Equal parts of fresh guava and passion fruit nectar juice

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?Dark rum floater

?Serve over ice



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