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Where Have All the L.A. Bartenders Gone? They're in NOLA for Tales of the Cocktail 2011

Next Door Lounge's Joseph Brooke will be MIA from LA this week and competing at Tales of the Cocktail (Photo by Caroline on Crack)
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If you're a cocktail geek, chances are you've heard of the annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans and even plan your social calendar around it. Every year drink slingers, liquor companies and cocktail enthusiasts do their liver stretches and build up their alcohol tolerance before descending on the Big Easy for booze-fueled mingling, seminars, parties and competitions. So tonight through Sunday, when you visit your usual watering hole and wonder where your fave bartender is, he/she is most likely in NOLA.

But to save you from that disappointment, here’s a list of which of our esteemed Los Angeles barsmiths will be out of town this week and competing in contests with the hopes of bringing back some impressive titles for L.A.

Next Door Lounge’s Joseph Brooke will be throwing down at the Viva! Sangrita Nationals today. His winningest recipe below.

The Roger Room’s Damian Windsor, Jason Bran and Zack Patterson will go up against three bars from other cities (boo! hiss!) at the Moët Hennessy USA's Bar Room Brawl on Friday. Last year, LA’s own the Varnish snagged the people’s hearts and choice award so good luck to our guys for holding onto the title for our city.

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Naomi Schimek of Hollywood Roosevelt’s Spare Room is competing at the USBG Bacardi Pina Colada competition (hosted by LA’s own Dan “The Imbiber” Dunn) on Friday night. Fingers crossed her Havana A Go Go recipe wins.

Nightlife ringmaster Aidan Demarest, also from the Spare Room, is hosting Cointreau and Saveur Magazine’s 2011 Mix-Off Competition on Friday where he’ll announce the Next Bar Star.

Other LA bar folks who aren’t competing but will be off at Tales: Adrian Biggs (La Descarga), Chris Bostick (The Varnish), Steve Livigni (La Descarga/Harvard & Stone), Giovanni Martinez (Sadie), Pablo Moix (Black Market Liquor Bar/Harvard & Stone/La Descarga), Lacey Murillo (Black Market), Mia Sarazen (Harvard & Stone/Black Market), Juan Sevilla (Big Bar), Alex Straus (Hemingway’s Lounge), Devon Tarby and Marcos Tello (The Varnish).

If you’re feeling ambitious (and happen to have kaffir lime leaves and the like in your kitchen), here’s Joseph Brooke’s exotic sangrita recipe for you to try at home.

By Joseph Brooke, Next Door Lounge

4 liters tomato water
1 handful kaffir lime leaves
1/2 handful cardamom pods, cracked
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dark chili powder
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
6 tbsp spicy pickled mango chili
3 mangoes, peeled & juiced
4oz fresh lime juice
4oz fresh orange juice
6 green serrano peppers
1-2 habanero peppers
1 tbsp canola oil

METHOD (makes about 3.5 liters)

1. Boil tomato water with cardamom and lime leaf. Reduce by 1/4 and let cool.
2. Combine mango chili, serrano peppers, habanero peppers and canola oil in a blender and puree until smooth.
3. Add all remaining ingredients into tomato reduction, adjusting citrus and mango juice to taste.
4. Add mango/pepper puree according to desired level of heat.
5. Shake vigorously and chill. Serve in a garam-masala-rimmed shot glass. Sip alongside a tall shot of Ocho Anejo (the '10).

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