Panaligan wins Rookie category
Hard Rock Café Saipan’s Jeffric Mendoza topped the Northern Marianas Bartenders Association’s Bartenders’ Cocktail Competition at the Taste of the Marianas last Saturday.
Mendoza won the title under the Battle of the Champions division for his “Isla Fresco” drink, which mixes Absolut Exposure with fresh lemon juice and cucumber-flavored syrup.
Mendoza, who was last year’s champion of the Rookie division, won this year’s title with his flashy moves. His flair bartending amazed the judges and the crowd as he balanced bottles on his elbows, palms, and even forehead and successfully juggled up to four bottles at one point.
A cash prize of $250, a gift prize, a trophy, and a mobile phone was awarded to Mendoza.
Another representative from Hard Rock, Joseph Solmarin, placed first runner-up, while Ed Flores of Club C placed second runner-up.
For the Battle of the Rookie division, Mariel Ann Panaligan of Best Sunshine International, Ltd. took home the championship along with all the special awards including Best in Showmanship, Best in Taste, and Best in Props and Costume for her “Island Desire” cocktail.
Panaligan is under the tutelage of Ronnie Guevara who won the championship title last year as well as in 2012 and 2013.
She received $150, a gift prize, a trophy, and a mobile phone as the champion and also took home separate trophies, cash prizes, and gifts for the special awards.
Ohren Ohry of Saipan World Resort placed first runner-up, followed by Renz Iglesias of Hyatt Regency Saipan and Sylvia Dones of Grandvio Resort as second and third runners-up, respectively.
“Thank you to all our sponsors as well as the managers and staff who gave their support for the success of this event,” association president Lito Espino said.
This year’s sponsors are R&J Wines and Spirits, SAMCORP Imports, TITAN’s, Marianas Visitors Authority, DFS Galeria, IT&E, Coca-Cola, ARMATECH, Marianas Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Grandvrio Resort, Pacific Islands Club, Best Sunshine, and the Northern Marianas Bartender’s Association.