Going to your favorite bar to kick back and enjoy your cocktail of choice is something many people look forward to, and those who frequent Native New Yorker restaurants in Ahwatukee Foothills will have the chance to enter their own special drink in a competition for a coveted spot on the Native New Yorker drink list.

The restaurant is working with its liquor vendor to create new drinks for its menu. The only requirement for the drinks is that they include any flavor of Three Olives vodka, 1800 tequila or Kracken rum. Competitors will consist of customers, bartenders and servers age 21 or over.

“We’re looking for a martini, a margarita, a frozen cocktail, a mixed drink and a shooter,” said Rod Ticknor, owner of both Ahwatukee Foothills Native New Yorker restaurants. “Who better than our customers and employees to create the specialties they like to drink.”

The contests will be held at both the Ray Road and Desert Foothills Native New Yorker locations. Anyone 21 or over is welcome to attend.

“The winner of each event at our restaurants will go to the finals at our Tempe store,” Ticknor said. “The final winners will go on our new special drink page with their names and what store it was created at.”

Monica Lamattina, a bartender who has worked at Native New Yorker for 15 years, will be creating her own version of a lemon drop drink for the competition.

“I don’t like the straight alcohol of a normal lemon drop, so I made a drink that is easier for me to enjoy,” she said. “I can make the drink as a shot or a martini, and it’s sweet but tart as well.”

Lamattina has plenty of practice creating mixed drink concoctions. When customers ask for a drink without anything specific in mind, Lamattina has to think on her feet.

“Usually if someone asks me to come up with a drink, I’ll ask them first what kind of liquor they want,” she said. “If you’re doing something for rum, you can go tropical or straight. If it’s vodka you can mix with juices or flavored vodkas.”

After competing in a similar contest at Native New Yorker last year, Lamattina hopes her drink will do well in this year’s event.

“Hopefully my drink will make it into the menu,” she said.

On Monday, Feb. 8, a drink competition will be held at the 5030 E. Ray Road location. On Monday, Feb. 15, another contest will be held at the 1339 E. Chandler Blvd. site. Community members interested in competing should meet with a manager from either store for more information.

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