Dax Williamson may be a skiing fanatic, but the bartender from Solitude Ski Resort knows his way around a tiki bar, too.
Williamson — and his Citrus Volcano served in a pineapple shell — was the winner of a recent tiki cocktail competition put on by the Utah Bartenders Guild.
Williamson defeated nine other Utah bartenders in the battle, where all the drinks had to contain white rum. (Captain Morgan was the sponsor.)
His winning concoction was a twist on the Citrus Powder cocktail available at Solitude’s Library Bar. It contained white and gold rum, elderflower liqueur, orange brandy, orange bitters and blood orange and key lime juice. An egg white gives the citrus-laden drink a bit of foam.
"I got the idea a few months ago when we had all these blood oranges at Solitude," said Williamson, who will represent Utah along with the second- and third-place winners at a regional cocktail competition in Denver.
For her second-place drink, Arianne King, from High West Distillery, created the Cockeyed Optimist, a play off the popular song in the musical "South Pacific." The drink contained a sampling from her spice cabinet: allspice, ginger, nutmeg and red pepper.
Amy Eldridge, from Bar X, took third place with a rum and passion-fruit drink called What Airline?
"I love making tea syrups," she said after the competition, "and I thought a tiki competition was a good time to try passion-fruit tea."
She mixed in light and dark rum, cinnamon and cilantro.
Local bartender Sean Neves is the leader of the Utah group, one of more than 40 chapters of the United States Bartenders Guild. He said the Utah guild celebrated its first anniversary in March and has more than 40 members "and growing."
A professional organization, the USBG encourages bartenders to elevate their craft by attending seminars, forging relationships with top bar talent in other cities, holding cocktail competitions to improve their skills and promoting responsible drinking, Neves said.
The tiki cocktail competition also served as a fundraiser.
Each competitor created four cocktails, three for the judges to sample and one to be auctioned to the members and guests in the crowd. Proceeds were donated to the Utah Refugee Center.
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