Local Bartender Michael Soo Wins World Mai Tai Competition in Hawaii

Categories: Wake Up Call

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Kevin J. Olson
Local bartender Michael Soo accepts his $10,000 prize in Kona, Hawaii.
Over the weekend, Phoenix's bartending scene earned some major bragging rights at the world Mai Tai competition in Kona, Hawaii -- especially since the winner Michael Soo was the first mainlander to nab a win at the event since it began in 2009. Soo's cocktail scored high on aroma, taste, appearance, and creativity, which got him the grand prize of $10,000.

See also: Judging Cocktails: 9 Lessons Learned After Drinking 18 Mai Tais in a Row

Soo, one of Bar Crudo's newest all-star bartender acquisitions, mixed up his take on a passion fruit-filled Mai Tai called the A Hui Hou (or Until We Meet Again). His drink, topped with orchids and a passion fruit foam, wowed Phoenix judges with its beautiful presentation and it seems that same visually stunning display worked to his favor in Kona at the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival last Saturday too.

"This drink is meant to be enjoyed on the beach, with some light appetizers, or just in the comfort of one's own home," Soo's drink description read. "Mai Tai originated from 'Maita'i,' the Tahitian word for 'good,' but this drink will leave you thinking it is 'No Ka Oi' or 'The Best'."

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Kevin J. Olson
Soo's winning Mai Tai from Saturday's competition.
The contest selected 21 contestant's recipes, all using Sammy's Beach Bar rum, from around the world and pitted the finalists against each other in a mix off. Soo's took home top honors at the Royal Kona Resort and earned him a $10,000 check. Hopefully some of that prize money will go to opening a Phoenix tiki bar. Here's hoping.

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