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Which L.A. Mixologist Makes the Best Mai Tai?

Demarest (left) and Lamprey at the Mai Tai Mixoff (Photo by Caroline on Crack/used with permission)
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Bar guru and mixologist Aidan Demarest, most recently behind The Spare Room, a swanky bar, bowling, and game lounge tucked inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, was deemed the master of the Mai Tai last night as part of the crowning event and celebration of all things Hawaii hosted by Los Angeles Magazine.

The competition involved a set of three bartender battles between a total of nine competitors, each of whom was invited to concoct a Mai Tai recipe that showcased Crusoe's line of organic, sustainable rums, signature flavors, a splash of innovation, and the flair of presentation. The public were invited to vote based on visiting the represented bars, or by scoping out the recipes posted online. The three finalists, Demarest, Matt Biancaniello of The Library Bar at the Roosevelt, and Adrian Biggs of La Descarga, mixed it up and off onstage last night in front of hula dancers, bikini-clad ladies dangling from the ceiling, and a crowd of guests at Hollywood's supperclub.

Judging for the big title was left to the pros: Cocktail blogger Caroline on Crack, Cruose Rum's Melkon Khosrovian, and La Descarga GM Steve Livigni. As wrangled by host Zane Lamprey of HDNet's "Drinking Made Easy," the judges sipped and deliberated, while guests were entertained by the hip-swiveling of the dancers, and the facts and funnines of Lamprey. (Hey--good to know that "Mai Tai" is the Tahitian word for "good," and that the drink was originated in Oakland, California...or in Hollywood by Don the Beachcomber.)

Alas, none of the guests got to sample any of the three finalists' Mai Tais (party fail!) but the room was still in good spirits thanks to the hosted bar, the competing mixologists' energy, and the ceaseless smiles of the Hawaiian entertainers.

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If you want to sample Demarest's winning Mai Tai, we've got the recipe. If you want to check out his bar, head to The Spare Room at the Roosevelt. But you might not spot Demarest there--for winning the Mix-Off he won a trip for two to Hawaii...the perfect vacation for him and his wife, he told us after his win. Now that's "good" in any language!

The Evening Glass-off
Aidan Demarest--The Spare Room

1 1/2 oz. Crusoe Silver Rum
1/2 oz. Crusoe Spiced Rum
2 chunks (2 oz.) Chipotle spiced pineapple
1/2 oz. Simple syrup
1/2 oz. Orgeat
1/2 oz. Lime juice

Muddle the pineapple then add ice, light rum, simple syrup, lime juice and Orgeat. Shake and pour and top with dark rum.