Drinking 12 cocktails in two hours is no easy task. Drinking all of that and then ranking them from one to 12 is even harder, but the largely F&B crowd at Monday night’s Absolut Mango Mix-off were up to the challenge. We arrived at the beautiful Vue at Ripley Point just as the sun was setting over the harbor. After grabbing my first generously-portioned drink, I knew I was in for a long night. Twelve area restaurants and bars — as far-reaching as Mad River, Blu, Social, and Carolina’s — sent two of their best mixologists to pour their take on the perfect mango cocktail. Interpretations ranged from the classic to the straight-up weird. (The Mill offered up one with coconut milk and jalapeño. I quickly poured it out but gave them points for effort.) After the sampling sesh was done and the full moon was shining off the water, the bartenders competed in a shot-pouring race. Lastly, the Iron Chef round tested their ingenuity; each was given a box with an assortment of ingredients, then given 10 minutes to make something delicious. In the end, classic and simple trumped creative, and the guys from Carolina’s won for their minty mango creation. The grand prize? A trip for two to Vegas. Who knew slinging suds could be so lucrative?

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