Mariana Resort and Spa bartender Grace Brooks bested nine other candidates in the 2nd Annual Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition held Monday at SandCastle of Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Organized by Marpac Inc., Brooks and eight other participants went head to head against each other in three cocktail categories.
Brooks’ winning cocktails were called Banana Mojito, the Purple Lady, and the Strawberrytini.
Her award-winning Strawberrytini was composed of vodka, strawberry compote, strawberry ice cream, and martini mix. Her other winning cocktail, the Purple Lady, was inspired by her husband during their first wedding anniversary.
“I feel very happy and very blessed and up ’til now it is unbelievable. After that night I did not sleep because I did not expect that win and I am very thankful,” Brooks said yesterday.
“I have been working for seven years in the restaurant at Marianas Resort and just started working in the bar when it opened so I started experimenting with drinks and doing my own drinks and I would give some to our guests and I would ask how do they like it and from there I used their feedback to improve the drinks,” Brooks said.
“When it comes to bartending we should not be afraid or scared to try new things. When I was doing my drinks I got advice from my coworkers on what to mix and for the competition I just picked my best,” she added.
Brooks took home that night $600. Mila Esperas of Country House won the People’s Choice Award and took home $400 for her Green Apple Mojito concoction.
Other competitors included Derol Tudela of Pacific Islands Club, Leopoldo Pisano of Naked Fish, Joseph Solmarin of Hard Rock Café, Jung Ming Jiang of Hyatt, Ernesto Garcia of Hyatt, Eli Sarasa of Sandcastle, and Eleanor Soretta of Fiesta Resort and Spa.
Marpac sales manager James Lee said they are likely to hold the competition again next year.
“We’ll probably hold it in a different venue and see how to make it better and make it more competitive and invite more participants,” Lee said.