The Golden Tiki hosted the Las Vegas preliminaries of the 10th Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival on Saturday. Andrew Pollard from Wynn Resorts won first place earning an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii to battle against the country’s top bartenders for the title of the world’s best Mai Tai on Aug. 18 (Pictured: Winner Andrew Pollard with judges Branden Powers (L), Jaymee Mandeville and Mike Doyle (R).
His prize included roundtrip airfare to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, hotel accommodations at Royal Kona Resort, and $250 food & beverage credit.
“Wow, this is amazing,” said Pollard as he was handed a jumbo Bacardi U.S.A. boarding pass and adorned with a lei from Hawaii in honor of his victory. “It’s great to be standing up here with these competitors, and I look forward to the finals competition.”
Tim Weigel from Hakkasan Group earned second place, while William Perbellini from Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas placed third. Each earned entry into the finals competition in Hawaii as well as Golden Tiki and Bacardi U.S.A. prizes. Additional competitors included Ryan Clark from Vince Neil’s Tatuado, Terry Clark from Sparrow + Wolf, Mike “Guzzie” Guzman from Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar, Maxwell Hague from Atomic Liquors, Seong Ha Lee from The Sand Dollar Lounge, Doug Monroe from The Chandelier, Javier Ortega from Libertine Social, Adam Rains from Flock & Fowl Downtown, Gary Schneck from Parlor Lounge, Noelle Scott from Opium, and April Simm from The Underground at The Mob Museum.
All competitors prepared their twists on the classic Mai Tai for judges Mike Doyle, Bacardi U.S.A.’s national account portfolio manager; Jaymee Mandeville, Bacardi U.S.A.’s West Coast senior portfolio ambassador; and Branden Powers, The Golden Tiki’s managing partner. Points were awarded on appearance, aroma, creativity, taste, and proficiency.
“It was a blast to host this competition at The Golden Tiki,” said Powers. “We celebrate Don the Beachcomber every day, and it’s great to see these top-notch competitors honor his legacy through their unique takes on the Mai Tai. They all would make strong contenders in the finals.”
To qualify, bartenders submitted recipes using Bacardi Ocho, Bacardi Cuatro, or Bacardi Diez as the base spirit for their cocktail. Additionally, each stirred, shaken, or blended drink was limited to nine ingredients and needed to be made within ten minutes.