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8sJbsPtzMNyigkE8VfAmV6DqPW2HgmbhN3mYAUwdyl0It was quite the night – the “Libations for Literacy” bartending challenge benefiting the Literacy Project Foundation. Four young professionals graciously offered their services  to raise money for the foundation, whose mission is to enable at-risk and disadvantaged youth to increase their reading skill levels.

The fun evening, held at Brasserie Pascal at Fashion Island, saw the first shift of bartenders – Vanessa Moore of Rexxi Real Estate in Newport Beach, and Brett Lawrence of Rancho Las Lomas, take the reins in the ultimate cocktail war. Whoever collected the most tips won the challenge and raised money for the nonprofit. Lawrence confessed that his favorite drink was Jack Daniels on the rocks. “Whatever Frank Sinatra drank, I drink,” he joked. Moore, his partner, said she was a waitress in college and made drinks occasionally. “I make a great Salty Dog,” she smiled.

The second shift saw Danielle Drucker of OC Public Relations and Dan Korpman from Anfield Capital Management gather at the bar in matching outfits. I must say, they were adorable! Drucker, a self-confessed first-time bartender, said the restaurant’s bartender Sean Burns taught her how to make a French margarita. Her partner (and boyfriend, I might add) Korpman said his favorite drink was an Old Fashioned, “which I probably can’t make,” he joked.

Brasserie Pascal Chef Pascal Olhats was close at hand, giving support to the contestants. He remarked, “They’ll probably be fried by the end of the night!” Foundation Program Coordinator Kimberly Vig kept things moving, as did restaurant GM Herve Laveaud for the 125 guests.

LPF President/CEO Sue Tucker got the idea to do the fundraiser after she attended a bartending challenge that Serving People in Need hosted at A Restaurant. Her good friend Barbara Eidson of Island Hotel fame, where she holds court as Community Relations Director, and her husband Kyle participated. I attended that night, as Barbara and Kyle are good friends, and the two were certainly slinging the cocktails! It was a hoot! I don’t remember who won, but a good time was had by all.

The results? The Drucker/Korpman team won, with $1,000 raised for the cause, which will enable 10 kids to receive LPF’s reading program at no cost. I overheard Tucker talking about some future challenges – perhaps a Bastille Day challenge. Stay tuned…

Selected photos: Robert Rooks Photography