Bartender Garrett Spicher prepares his specialty cocktails with the precision and ease of a Master Chef.
“I draw my inspiration from the classics,” he says. “They have been done for centuries and you can’t mess them up. You can look at history and use ingredients people love, but put a modern spin on things.”
As a mixologist at The Purple Room Supper Club in Palm Springs, Spicher’s passion for mixing the perfect drink extends to the many classic cocktails he creates for nostalgic patrons.
“I’ve been trained and taught from great mentors and I take it to heart to make a really good beverage,” says Spicher, who has bartended for seven years. “I really love doing it.”
In the last six weeks, that love has received a test in the form of the Selvarey Rum and Saguaro’s Mixology Tournament, pitting local bartenders in head-to-head competitions over the last six weeks.
Spicher has advanced to the Aug. 4 finals as one of six finalists that will vie for a cash grand prize and other perks at the Saguaro in Palm Springs. The competition starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Sago Ballroom.
The rest of the field includes bartenders Greg Austin (Workshop Kitchen & Bar, representing Bootlegger Tiki), Richard Ables (Village Pub), Zane Tessay (Workshop Kitchen & Bar), Joe Kwiatkowski (The Purple Room), and Anthony Bonelli (Hunters).
Judged on creativity, presentation, the use of Selvarey’s premium Panamanian White or Cacao rums, and overall taste, the competition has been dubbed, “Battle of the 111”.
“I actually didn’t know about the contest until my boss at Purple Room told me, ‘I think you can win’,” Spicher recalls.
And win he did. Spicher secured a spot in the finals with a unique blend, which he describes as “a nice summer cocktail to drink poolside. It’s refreshing.”
His winning drink used blackberries with mint, muddled down adding the Selvarey white rum with Aperol (a fruity Italian rhubarb orange liqueur). He finished the drink with a simple syrup and a splash of soda water.
Spicher says he has not perfected his entry to date, but has been working with different mixes and will be dressing sharp for the competition. He’s excited at the perks that come with winning.
And, of course, “There are the ‘bragging rights’,” he adds.