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Master Mixologist

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There’s a lot to be said for winning the annual War of the Pour bartending contest. There’s the Vail getaway, of course, courtesy of sponsor Smirnoff Twist. There’s the new loyal customers who will come in out of curiosity, and likely find a new favorite bartender and/or watering hole. But most of all, it’s about the bragging rights.

And Brad Beale scored bragging rights as Denver’s best bartender last week during the competition held at Spill, where he currently works. (Regulars of that particular block of downtown will remember him from a three-year stint at the now-defunct Andrew’s Pub as well.) He was pitted against hundreds of veteran drink slingers from around town, which the judges (from Smirnoff and Alice radio station) narrowed down to 11 finalists for the last round. Bartenders from Cherry Cricket, Roo Bar, Lodo’s, and Double Daughters all made the cut, but it was Beale who blew the judges away and won the competition.

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I caught up with Brad the other night, and quizzed him about his winning cocktails. Each participant had to create three original drinks using Smirnoff Twist products: one cocktail, one martini, and one shot. Beale created “The Brad” shot, with cranberry and citrus vodkas and cranberry juice, the “Supercalifragilistiexpialidocious” martini, using all eight flavors of Smirnoff’s flavored vodkas, and his most creative invention of the night, the “Gingerbread Man” cocktail. For this, he blended vanilla vodka, a scoop of actual pumpkin pie filling, and a dash of chocolate syrup.

Yummy, but will he be able to keep a pumpkin pie on hand from now on? Apparently, yes. At least through this holiday season, anyway. Scoot on down to Spill (1410 Market St.) for samples, and say congrats to Brad Beale while you’re there.

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