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11:15 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

United Way raises holiday donations

The Scene/Matt Hinshaw<p>
Don Shaffer, the United Way MC for the night, steps behind a bar and creates his “Don Shaffer Atomic Bomb” beverage.

The Scene/Matt Hinshaw<p> Don Shaffer, the United Way MC for the night, steps behind a bar and creates his “Don Shaffer Atomic Bomb” beverage.

PRESCOTT - Each year, the United Way of Yavapai County goes for the fundraising season's final round by having a couple of rounds.

A few local bartenders showed up at Murphy's Restaurant on Dec. 13 for the annual "Battle of the Bartenders" showdown to raise money for the non-profit.

Only three out of the eight registered competitors showed up, but organizers did manage to raise around $900.

According to general manager Mike Joyal, Murphy's has played host to the event for the past 14 years, recruiting bartenders from around the area to participate in a drink-making competition while judges rate the presentation and taste of their work and organizers raffle off donated prizes and auction other items.

"Tonight, I'm just here to have fun," said Rhett Harvic, owner of Lincoln Logs Log Homes, one four judges.

"I like to call it holiday relief. This one you'll want to come to because it's fun," said Tammy Linn, director of United Way Yavapai County and also a judge, adding that the event gives the United Way an "extra push" at the end of the campaign season and provides an opportunity for people who want to give during the holiday season.

Prizes donated included a diamond watch, karaoke machine, gift baskets, tickets to Suns games and cords of wood.

Sam Wheeler, representing the Gurley Street Grill, made the first drink, mixing up a Cherry Tootsie Pop Martini.

Next, Tony Secor from Pudge & Nasti's concocted an Eerie Night, which he said was inspired by a three-day drinking binge with Vincent Van Gogh involving absinthe and paint chips, causing the artist to cut off his ear.

Actually, he wanted to make something with Van Gogh Espresso Vodka and thought of the painting "Starry Night."

Stephanie West, representing Murphy's, made a Red Hot Mama, which she said was dedicated to the woman who helped improve business at her grandmother's brothel. West mixed this cocktail from Han vodka, firewater, white crème de menthe and white crème de cacao.

Don Shaffer, the emcee of the event, made a last-minute entry in the contest, mixing up a "Don Shaffer's Atomic Bomb" - a fruity martini of sorts garnished with multiple orange and lime slices and an olive.

"His was impromptu, off-the-cuff, and had good presentation," said Don Biele, a judge.

Secor, who won in '04 and '05 representing Murphy's, reclaimed his title with his vodka drink shaken with Tuaca, Frangelico and Bailey's.

"It was very smooth, a great after-dinner drink," said Shellie Ritter, also a judge.

Secor took home the cash prize of $300.