Mark Stoddard, a mixologist at Happy and its late-night alter-ego, Bitter Bar, was in New Zealand last week, competing in the 42Below Cocktail World Cup with fellow TeamUSA members Todd Thrasher of Washington, DC, and Sean Hoard of New York City.
This contest is not for the timid. Over five days, 24 bartenders from seven countries took on bungee jumping and boat racing, as well as five challenges: Modern Mocktails, 21st Century Punch, Ready Steady Shake, Modern Martini and Signature Cocktail.
TeamUSA went into the final challenge on top -- but that last contest accounted for 80 percent of their score, and they only had ten minutes to prepare their Signature Cocktail, then seven more to mix it for the judges.
Still, TeamUSA triumphed. Details of their final creation are still sketchy, but the staffers at Happy, the noodle bar that Big Red F opened at 835 Walnut Street in Boulder in early 2009, know that Stoddard has given them yet another reason to be happy.
Earlier this year, Forbes magazine named Happy one of "America's Best New Restaurants." Stoddard helped open Happy and Bitter Bar, and has been mixologist/partner James Lee's right-hand man ever since.
Here's TeamUSA's recipe for 42 and Cloudy, which took top honors in the 21st Century Punch challenge:
42Below Honey 42Below Passionfruit Sazerac Rye white rum brandy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc passion fruit juice Sencha green tea fresh passion fruit water luxardo cherries lemon juice champagne to taste
Serve in hollowed-out passion fruit, with passion-fruit balls.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.