Bartenders belly up for mixology matches

Bartenders on the Olympic Peninsula now have the chance to earn bragging rights.

On Jan 13, the Oasis Sports Bar & Grill hosted its first Bartenders Ball. The competition featured about a dozen licensed mixologists competing to be judged the best bartender, server and mixologist of the best drink.

Winners for 2009 were Jordan Krisik, Best Server; Courtney Brown, Best Bartender; and Josh Graves for his drink "The Palm Tree Splash."

"(The competition) was like a little marathon," said Ken Cram, operations manager for the Oasis Bar.

Competitors in the bartending and serving contests were required to carry two decks of stacked champagne glasses across the room.

The first three contestants didn't make it. Krisik breezed through the contest, Graves said.

Bartenders also were required to correctly pour three randomly selected drinks and were asked essay questions detailing what, in essence, makes them the best bartenders in the Olympic Peninsula.

Brown says she can take five drink orders at once with ease and has more smarts than the typical bartender.

She hates making Pina Coladas, though.

"Every bartender hates using a blender," Brown said.

She plans on defending her title next year.

Graves' "Palm Tree Splash," originally called the "Chica Drinka" for its fruity content and popularity with the female crowd, will be the house drink for the next year at the Oasis Bar.

"We're always messing around to make something that tastes fine," Graves said about discovering his drink.

Krisik and Graves said one of the best parts of the competition was learning. They said a few of the less common drinks like the B-53 and Old-Fashioned challenged their skills.

"I learned from not knowing how to make things," Graves said.

Drinks were assigned anonymous numbers so that no bias could be showed towards any judge's employees and co-workers. Brown works for the Oasis Bar, and Krisik and Graves work at 7 Cedars Casino.

"The judges did an excellent job. I didn't know what to expect," Krisik said.

Judges were Dick Valske, former owner of the Dicky Bird Tavern; Janie McDermott, food and beverage distributor for

7 Cedars Casino; and Ken Cram.

Kram plans to hold the event again next year on the second weekend of January at the


Matthew Nash can be reached at

Courtney Brown, Best Bartender 2009: Has been bartending at the Oasis for a year and a half.

Favorite drinks: Dirty martinis and flavored vodka

Jordan Krisik, Best Server 2009: Has been bartending at 7 Cedars for four years.

Favorite drinks: Lemon drops and Washington apple drops

Josh Graves, Best Drink, "The Palm Tree Splash" for 2009: Has worked at 7 Cedars as a bartender for more than a year.

Is disappointed in: His ability to remember the third ingredient in a Pink Diamond Martini, which he discovered was peach schnapps.

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