To do my part for AIDS Walk Charlotte 2008, I volunteered upon invitation to be a judge for Baar Wars, the battle of the bartenders that went down last night at Alley Cat. As it turned out, my call to duty was to sample 57 different cocktails.
"Celebrity" (using the term loosely in regards to myself) judges included my fellow paid partier (but for the Observer) Sarah Aarthun, Brotha Fred of 96.1 The Beat's Morning Mayhem and FOX News Edge, as well as NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin. Upon realizing how many cocktails we were ordained to consume, Sarah Aarthun and I looked at each other in fright and made the executive decision to chug water in order to prepare our livers for the irreparable damage we were about to cause to it.
Using our superior taste buds and not so high tolerance, we judged Best Martini, Best Shot, Best Vodka Cocktail and Best Red Bull Cocktail. We scored from one to 10, one being "yuk" and 10 being "awesome."
Now, I am 5' 2" and weigh about a buck-20 with like 11 percent body fat — and I rarely (if ever) drink liquor. Thus, I am the epitome of a lightweight. It takes a mere two beers to get me drunk; I was inebriated by like the tenth sip. Correction, I bypassed drunk and went straight to stupid.
The very first cocktail was titled a "Chocolate Milk." First of all, I didn't realize milk and alcohol mixed. I'm not a mixologist — but I am lactose intolerant.
Joanna from Tutto Mondo scored points with me for her garnishing skills. She pitted a lemon and then rolled it up in her Red Bull lemonade concoction, then drizzled her "Javatini" with chocolate. The bartender from Tempo made a one night stand, and although I've never actually had a one night stand, I might if I had drunk the entire class of that love potion number nine.
Meanwhile, I gave Stephan from Cosmos an extra point for being sanitary. He was one of the only bartenders that made four individual drinks for us judges. All night it was a two straws, one cup situation. Brotha Fred and I had to sip our straws Lady and the Tramp style. Aside from alleviating that, Stephan radiated with awesomeness and flair.
Rolando from Forum made us a "Ladie's Man," I was kind of hoping it would come with a fish sandwich. The hottie Jen from Cans made a "Trash Can."
The bartender from the gay bar Liaisons let us taste Neil's nuts. (You'll have to excuse me, I unintentionally talk in porn).
And the bartender from The Penguin made a tasty lick called Sex at the Penguin. Speaking of the Penguin, thank the sweet little baby Jesus for their fried pickles for which they serve at Alley Cat. They might have saved my life.
And one bartender (at this point I can't even remember who) put a Bud Light into a cocktail. Isn't mixing beer and liquor like mixing oil and water?
There were also bartenders representing Petra's Piano Bar, Hom, Brixx, Alley Cat... And just about every bar in Charlotte.
I also sampled Raspberry Blow Pops, self-titled shots, Cantaloupe Martinis, a Red Bull cocktail that had to be taken like an Irish Car Bomb, and....oh, I can't remember, and I can barely read my own handwriting from the notes I took. It got to the point I was passing off drinks to the people behind me and letting them step up to the judges booth... What? I was just trying to make it a fair election and let the people vote. Luckily, all the drinks were made from Skyy Vodka. My liver thanks you Mike Yates.
I gave a perfect 10 to the pourer of my H20 on the rocks with a twist. Between each bartender's round I took a glass of water to the face, but it didn't do much other than cleanse the palate.
My personal favorite bartender in battle was J.T Foster from Thomas Street Tavern. He made us a Gay Boy, a Blow Job and a Sucker, which was like a Sour Patch Kid in a cup.
By the intermission, Sarah and I had to pee like kids on a road trip. And in the bathroom some girl told me that some of the bartenders said their main objective was to get the judges drunk. It was a conspiracy theory and their mission was accomplished.
Denny's friends were teasing me for being such a lightweight and I came back with, "Well car jockey over here is the same size as me!" Upon apology, he said he takes that as a compliment considering he use to be 35 pounds heavier. Phewww.
The flair competition was like something from the movie Cocktail, but they held the cheese.
This was the major leagues of liquor slinging. I gave a perfect 10 to Tim Sassaman (a.k.a Sass McSass) for his acrobatics. And Apparently Whisky River has lots of flair, two of the competitors work there, one whose last name is Pappas, so I kept referring to him as Daddy. You can catch some of this flair action on FOX News Edge.
And the winners were, drum roll please...
Best overall: Lori, Laurie — however you spell her name, from Alley Cat
Hottest male: Rolando from Forum (yeah, he's hot!)
Hottest female: Red at Cosmos (at least, I think that's what host Carolina Renfro said. But I was wasted and she also pronounced Sarah Aarthun's last name as Arthur, so who knows?)
Funniest: Kat at Alley Cat
Fastest: Red at Cosmos
Best staff (based on raising the most money for AIDs walk Charlotte): Cosmos
Not going to lie, I got a little frightened by Mini Marilyn Manson. By the time he came on there could have been a Wookie from Star Wars on stage doing a duet with him and I wouldn't have known the difference.
Both my motor skills and mouth were impaired. I told the guy I had a crush on that I didn't like him, and then proceeded to respond to a good night text from my Mr. Big by telling him to take the iTunes card I got him for Valentine's Day (in addition to a cruise to the Bahamas) and go download Jesse McCartney's new song Leavin'. Apparently one of those bartenders made me a Bitch-tini and gave me a shot of puerile. I was getting on my own nerves, and I couldn't silence those warm and fuzzies in my stomach, that I can assure you was not the Za-Za-Zu you get when you're crushing on someone. I started dancing in a curtain, gave everyone gangsta names (mine is B-Ritt), and called Denny Hamlin "Clint Boyers." And if I heard, "I've never seen you this drunk," one more time...
I ended up walking home alone. We're not in NYC anymore Toto, I had to pass through a not so good part of Uptown to get to my humble abode on the outskirts...driving might have been safer. But I made it out alive and lived to blog about it.
Point is, no good deed goes unpunished. Holy hangover Batman! I am sitting here at my desk right now wearing the clothes I slept in and my Virginia Tech-New York Yankee baseball hat, waiting on my Showmars Chicken Fiesta (translation: chicken party) to be delivered. No, Showmars did not start delivering, the manager Alex at the one on Freedom is just really nice... and if I move I get nausea. Even after five hours of sleep I was seriously concerned about driving to work this morning. As soon as I can move again I'm going to Talley's Green Groceries to buy some liver detox.
But for being a judge I got a ribbon that reads "I'm Special" — that could go both ways I suppose.