One hour, 108 bottles of vodka and two Guinness World Records. That was yesterday for Mark Stoddard, mixologist at Happy/Bitter Bar in Boulder, and seven teammates in the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup U.S. Final at the Ace Hotel.
During the cocktail competition, Stoddard and his teammates set out to see how many cocktails they could make in one hour. The answer was 1,541 for the team and 233 for Stoddard -- both Guinness World Records.
"I was making one cocktail every fifteen seconds, and it was the fastest hour of my life," says Stoddard. "It felt like fifteen minutes."
Stoddard and his teammates -- other bartenders from around the country and employees from 42BELOW -- made drinks from a bar fully stocked with limes, mint, cucumbers, lemons, oranges, basil and more. They did so under the watch of Guinness officials and a large crowd, who got to enjoy many of the drinks the crew pumped out.
"I had my own personal caller who would call out each drink, each with a different 42BELOW flavor," says Stoddard. "So I was thinking five or six drinks ahead. We had all these varied ingredients at our hands and I had to be very focused."
A cocktail was defined as a drink with three or more ingredients; some had up to six. Each bartender had a list of different cocktails that had to be made during the hour; Stoddard's was 211 drinks long. The Guinness officials were checking the drinks throughout the competition, but still needed about a half-hour after the hour of mixing was up to verify all the cocktails.
"It was definitely a little nerve-racking," says Stoddard of the wait. "When they announced it, we all cheered and had a hug and it was awesome. I'm pretty honored and fortunate to have been part of it."
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And as it turns out, the team didn't really need to sweat, since the previous record-holder had made 937 drinks in one hour.
Stoddard was in New York to help Bryan Dayton of Oak at Fourteenth and Randy Layman of Steuben's, who were the Denver regional winners attempting to make Team USA for the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, an event Stoddard helped win last year.
The idea to break the world record got started back in November, when Stoddard and his teammates from last year were approached by people at 42BELOW. "They asked us if we would be interested in attempting the world record and of course I said, 'Hell yeah,'" remembers Stoddard. "When it was all said and done. it was a big relief. They presented us with a plaque and I was really proud to represent Colorado."