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Tiki Time with Austin's Best Bartenders

Drink slingers strut their stuff, for us and each other
Wes Marshall, 4:30pm, Fri. Jun. 21, 2013

There are a few things you can absolutely count on when the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) throws a party. The obvious one is this is where the best bartenders in the city have an opportunity to strut their stuff for the community.

courtesy United States Bartender Guild

Even more important to those of us out for some revelry – this is where the preeminent mixologists get a chance to strut their stuff in front of their peers. Imagine a Quentin Tarantino film (or one by “Wild Bill” Wellman, for you film historians) where every speedy young gunfighter in the Texican territory shows up at the saloon and they all start showing off their prowess with a six-shooter. That’s the level of competition you’ll see at a USBG gathering.

Cool rum drinks
photo by John Anderson

Sound interesting? Then you just might be a candidate for Texas Tiki Week, organized by the Austin chapter of the USBG, and taking place all over Texas from Saturday, June 22 through Sunday, June 30. Don’t let the name put you off. Sure, some drink makers will camp it up with bizarre drink decorations, trying to make you think you’re back in the day at Trader Vic’s in Dallas or Don the Beachcomber’s in Houston, but the real goal is fun and creativity. There will even be cool souvenir items such as special tiki mugs, t-shirts, and leis available for sale at some of the participating bars. Events kick off this weekend at Whip In (1950 S. IH 35) with the South Asian Luau Preview Party on Saturday, June 21 from 2pm-6pm, and The R(h)um Row Party at bars along 53rd Street on Sunday, June 23, and don't let up until eight days later.

The souvenir mug
photo by John Anderson

Some of the trade events are for USBG members only, but the best event for the public will be Mai-Tai Night on Tuesday, June 25, from 7pm-11pm when the bars at Second Bar + Kitchen, Firehouse Lounge, Whisler’s, The League, Drink.Well Pub, Red 7, Contigo, Blackheart on Rainey, and Perla's put forth their finest rum concoctions And for those of you have been fans of the craft cocktail movement in Austin since the beginning, the name of award-winning bartender Mindy Kucan is bound to ring a bell. She’ll be back in town and making drinks at the Midnight Cowboy on Wednesday, June 25. We can’t wait to taste what she comes up with.

For complete information on Texas Tiki Week, go here.

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