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Bitter Bar's Mark Stoddard jetting to New Zealand to compete for world domination

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I always knew Happy/Bitter Bar's Mark Stoddard was driven, but I didn't realize he wanted to take on the world.

In New York City last Sunday, Stoddard, Todd Thrasher (Washington, D.C.) and Sean Hoard (New York) were all named Cocktail World Cup U.S. finalists. And in a week, Stoddard will be heading to New Zealand as part of team USA to compete for global cocktail domination, battling mixologists from around the globe to take home the title at the 42Below World Cup.

Ten countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France and Italy, will compete to create the most innovative cocktails as judged by such leaders in the industry as Simon Difford (UK), Jim Meehan (New York), Vernon Chalker and 2005 winner Jason Chan (both from Melbourne, Australia).

"In no other competition around the world are you going to bungee jump, then free pour into test tubes, jet boat at high speeds through narrow canyons, and then have a mystery box of ingredients to create a brilliant cocktail on the fly!," says TAG bartender Jared Boller of his experience in the 2009 Cocktail World Cup, in which the U.S. brought home the silver. The The 2010 42Below World Cup will take place from March 23 through March 28.

Stoddard's winning cocktail: South of Brooklyn -42Below Manuka Honey Vodka -Michter's Rye Whiskey -Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth -Apricot Eau de Vie -House Made Amer Picon

Stirr with Kold Draft ice, and serve up in an antique crystal coupe. The garnish is a twisted orange peel on the rim with an apple blossom flower in the center of the twist.

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