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07 Feb 2020

Snapshot: The Fourth Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship

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Juan Hurtado of Jake's celebrates his win with judge Leslie Barclay. Juan Hurtado of Jake's celebrates his win with judge Leslie Barclay. Kevin Fitzgerald

A sold-out crowd of 150 people enjoyed 10 amazing cocktails—all made with George Dickel Rye or DeLeon Tequila Platinum Blanco ... or, believe it or not, both—at the Fourth Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship, held Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Moxie Palm Springs.

Carlos Argumedo, of Farm, came in as the defending champ, and became the event's first-ever competitor to win two awards, when he earned the Audience Choice Award. The night's top honors went to Jake's Juan Hurtado, who blew the judges away by making an amazing drink using both the rye and tequila.

Ten bartenders competed in the event, which sold out for the second year in a row. Each competitor made tastes of their drinks for each attendee, before making full drinks for the judges: liquor sponsor Leslie Barclay; Brad Fuhr, of media sponsor Gay Desert Guide; and representatives of Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week’s beneficiaries: Desert AIDS Project rep Jeffery Norman, and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s Raul Rodriguez.

The event was hosted by Independent publisher Jimmy Boegle. However, Jeffrey Norman and Shann Carr took over when Boegle fell and was unable to continue.

The championship is the highlight of Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week, a production of the Coachella Valley Independent. During the week, which continues through Saturday, Feb. 8, participating restaurants create a special drink for the week, or highlight an existing drink from their menus, and donate at least $2 from each drink sold during the week to the Desert AIDS Project and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert. A complete list of drinks and participants can be found at PSCraftCocktails.com.

Below is a collection of photos from the event, taken by the Independent’s Kevin Fitzgerald.

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