Photo: Ekey84, Flickr
Absolut Vodka is holding casting calls around the country for the third season of its reality show "On the Rocks: The Search for America's Top Bartender," which will be shot on location in Las Vegas and will air this fall on select NBC stations across the country.
Previous seasons included traditional bartender challenges involving accuracy of free pouring, flair behind the bar, knowledge of classic cocktail recipes, speed, and how many tips you can collect. Not so typical competitive rounds have included trying to pair total strangers romantically while serving them two different cocktails and pairing a cocktail to a costume during a masquerade ball. The first two seasons also challenged participants to match cocktails with food that you might not normally have a cocktail with, like a big piece of beef, which would usually be paired with red wine. (That winning drink was a play off a Bloody Mary with pepper vodka and a black peppered rim.)
Out of 10 competitors in the first season, Las Vegas' smiling beauty Amanda Gager was declared the winner after she created a signature recipe for the debut of Absolut Mango. She then served as a judge for the season two and traveled around promoting Absolut, appearing on the Today Show and in various magazines.
Recipes and the trailer to "The Search for America's Top Bartender" after the jump ...
The Grand Mango
8 sage leaves, plus extra for garnish
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1 1/2 ounces Absolut Mango
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce peach nectar
1/2 ounce fresh pressed lemon juice
Edible flower, garnish
Gold flecks, garnish
Fill mixing glass with 8 sage leaves and agave nectar.
Add rest of ingredients.
Fill mixing glass with ice.
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Top with Barritt's ginger beer.
Garnish with sage leaves, edible flower and gold flecks.
Season two's winner, Joseph "Joe" Brooke of Los Angeles, was crowned in the final round with this winning cocktail.
The Country House
1 1/2 parts Absolut Citron
1 part honey syrup
3/4 part lemon juice
2 dashes peach bitters
2 sage leaves
Shake first 4 ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with sage leaves and raspberries.
The declared Top Bartender walks away with a $100,000 prize. But not without some controversy. New York philanthropist Scott Talbot claims that Absolut stole the show concept from him; however, his idea was that all the winnings would go to the bartender's philanthropy of choice. The 18-month-long legal battle is now headed to the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals with Mr. Talbot announcing this month that if the court rules in his favor, all monetary damages received will go to philanthropies, as he originally intended.