Calling all cocktail makers…

The 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup will hold its qualifying rounds for China on July 19 in Shanghai and July 25 in Beijing, and when the booze settles, three bartenders will have won themselves a one-week trip to New Zealand in September with 39 other mixologists from around the planet (that’d be 42 bartenders total: either the organizers are marketing geniuses or big Douglas Adams fans).

“The idea is to search for China’s top three bartenders and to fly them to Queensland for the world competition,” said 42 BELOW’s Martin Newell, yesterday over a cocktail at Q Bar.

For a shot at being among the 10 participants in the Beijing qualifier, bartenders should apply by the end of June (details here) and create a new cocktail that utilizes 42 BELOW products, which include a vodka flavored with feijoa, a green fruit found in New Zealand (for details on feijoa and on how bats ranked as the biggest mammal in the country until humans showed up, check my upcoming — and about two months overdue — interview with Martin).

Each participant will have a seven-minute slot in which to make their signature drink three times, once for each of the judges, says Phil Dorman of ConfuciusSays, which is doing marketing for the event.

This is the first time the event’s been held in Beijing, adds Newell, and says there has been strong interest from Lush, Zub, Centro, Aria, LAN and China Doll.

Brie, Bordeaux and a balloon poodle…

I think I’m in love and her name is Bubbly Sunday.

I’m not referring to some misguided local lass with an ill-advised English name, but to the title of Westin Hotel’s Champagne brunch. I’ve twice gone with a desire in my belly and twice left satisfied by a bounty of food and drink.

I went yesterday with my Mom, sister and friend, and, alongside the free-flow Piper-Heidsieck, we could choose from 20 wines (ASC Fine Wine’s Fanny Severe circulated and gave friendly advice), a selection of vodkas (the pineapple was refreshing, the hot pepper should come with a fire extinguisher), and an outdoor BBQ (including Taiwan-style sausages).

This was in addition to everything you’d expect at a five-star hotel Sunday brunch, from blue cheese to caviar to sushi to roast beef, with chocolate fondue, soufflé and black cherry ice cream leading the dessert charge. There’re also local dishes,  from Beijing duck to marinated fungus.

Throw in the lounge singers, fan dancers, magician, balloon twister (she makes a mean poodle), and a dynamic duo on electric violin and standup bass, and this brunch is a good place to bring some out-of-town visitors.

Note: Brunch runs from 11:30 AM to 3 PM and is RMB 298 + 15% with alcohol and RMB 228 + 15% with soft drinks, juice and mocktails. Call 6606-8866 for reservations and, if you’re cabbing it, keep that phone number handy, as the Westin isn’t always the easiest place to find.

Back on top…

Sundays on top are back at Kokomo (formerly Top Club, which shares half of Tongli’s rooftop with Bar Blu).The events are held on the last Sunday of each month – which means today, May 27, from 3 PM – with summer drink specials, Caribbean food, DJs, and a free manicure booth by Dragonfly (available from 4 PM to 7 PM).

More wine pours…

Palette Vino will mark its second anniversary with a wine and BBQ party on May 26, from 6 PM. The wine will go for 25 kuai and 30 kuai per glass, while the BBQ is 100 kuai. Archie’s Band will provide the music. (To RSVP, contact Irene at 8046-4461 / irene@palettewines.cn.)

The Friday night wine tastings at Sequoia Cafe (Sanlitun branch) continue as owner Frank gets Franc this week. Try a selection of Cabernet Franc from France, China and, it’s hoped, California. The event is 100 kuai and includes the usual snacks. (To get on the weekly invite list, email Frank at frank.siegel@gmail.com.)

A full pour of wine events

Pop, pop and pop – the invitations to wine dinners were dropping into my inbox tonight like freshly yanked corks. Here are three that practically came in on top of each other:

ASC will hold a Beringer wine dinner at Aria on May 26 (888 kuai), with the vineyard’s director of food and wine education, Jerry Comfort, in attendance. This event includes a pre-dinner tasting, a four-course meal, and no less than nine wines (contact Dennis at dennis@asc-wines.com).

Jebsen will launch Bava wines, from Italy, on May 25 at Prego in the Westin Hotel (588 kuai). The event aims “to discover a real affinity between wine and music” (contact Laurie at jfwbj@jebsen.com)

Finally, Summergate presents “South of France” lifestyle on China Lounge‘s rooftop on May 24 (100 kuai). This event includes a whopping 11 wines from Georges Duboeuf (contact Jessie at Jessie.xiao@summergate.com).