Why Watch Basketball When You Can Watch Bartenders Battle?

U Street bar and restaurant Hawthorne (1336 U St NW) and Bud Light are hosting a Bracket Battle on Monday, March 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. The free and open to the public event will feature bartenders from bars across D.C. competing to see who can mix the best beer cocktail. Eight mixologists — from Hawthorne, Soundcheck, Echostage, Provision No. 14Chinese Disco, Urbana, Big Chief and STK — will battle it out in teams of two representing the East, West, Midwest and South until they’re eliminated bracket-style and only one winning team remains. The best part: partygoers decide who wins — just drink and vote.

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A Hard Apple Cider Perfect for Cherry Blossom Festival

Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders, the No. 1 global cider brand, according to Canadean Research,  unveiled its newest flavor, Strongbow Cherry Blossom. The new flavor and recipe is said to deliver a cut-through, refreshing taste with delicate cherry blossom and red fruit aromas and an underlying note of apple, in a sophisticated shade of red.

To celebrate the launch, legal drinking age attendees of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., will be among the first consumers to sample Strongbow Cherry Blossom.

The brand is sponsoring several Festival events, including its debut at the Pink Tie Party and continuing through the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks.

“We are particularly excited that spring is here, and that we can finally celebrate it in style by sharing our new Strongbow Cherry Blossom with our fans!” said Alejandra de Obeso, Brand Director Strongbow, Heineken USA, who was involved developing the new flavor.

“Strongbow Cherry Blossom is a beautifully balanced cider that evokes some elements of a rosé wine, and has actually received the highest taste test ratings in our brand’s history from both men and women. We recommend serving Cherry Blossom over ice to help bring out its distinctive cherry blossom and red fruit aroma, and enjoy the bright taste of its unique blend of bittersweet and culinary apples.”

The flavor announcement follows the launch of Strongbow’s latest TV commercials starring thelegendary actor, Sir Patrick Stewart. The second iteration of this witty national campaign highlights Strongbow’s impressive range of award-winning hard cider flavors, which over ice deliver the “bestest” cider experience possible. Strongbow Cherry Blossom will be revealed as part of the campaign starting next week, on March 28.

Cherry Blossom will be launched in a six-pack during the month of March and will eventually replace Red Berries in the Strongbow Variety Pack in June, alongside Strongbow Gold Apple, Strongbow Honey and Strongbow Ginger. The new flavor will also be competing at the next 2016 World Cider Championships in April.

All flavors in the new Variety Pack are gluten-free and sold in 11.2 oz. bottles. Strongbow Gold Apple and Strongbow Honey are 5% ABV, while new Strongbow Cherry Blossom and Strongbow Ginger are 4.5% ABV.  

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Haymarket Woman Earns Wine Diploma

Sara Gann, of The Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, Va., is among the latest graduates of the International Wine Center with a WSET Level 4 Diploma.

She’s one of 13 new graduates who join an esteemed group of 273 who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center.

 “Success in the WSET Diploma studies requires huge commitment and dedication on the part of each student,” said Mary Ewing-Mulligan, President of IWC. “Their accomplishment is an inspiration not only to other students but also to all of us who have guided them.” 

Founded in 1982, IWC is recognized as one of the most established, reputable and prestigious wine and spirits educational centers in the country and serves as the U.S. headquarters for WSET programming. In 2015 International Wine Center became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School.

Although wine and spirit courses are still open to any students interested in serious and challenging study, IWC is now recognized as professional training center for individuals in the wine and spirits trade, or those wishing to enter that sector.

Gann’s path to wine study started while taking a perfume-making course in California. The pleasure of smelling and blending different aromas to create a desired style led her to pursue WSET wine studies and her first industry role at Sunset Hills Winery in Purcellville, Virginia.

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