Bartender Chris Raph is used to working busy nights at the Shout House, a dueling piano bar in downtown Minneapolis. But on Thursday night, keeping up meant proving himself the world's fastest bartender.
Amid screaming girls and with sweat streaming down his forehead, Raph, 31, of Burnsville, shattered the Guinness World Records feat for the most drinks made in one hour before a crowd of about 300.
After hearing about such a record last summer, Raph contacted Guinness about making his own attempt. It took him months to prepare. In the meantime, a bartender in Munich, Germany, set the new world record with 389 drinks.
Raph broke the record with a citrus orange cranberry fizz for drink 390, then went on to pour a total of 662 cocktails by the end of the hour.
The Shout House auctioned off the record-breaking 390th drink for $225, with the proceeds going to charity.
Raph couldn't just make several hundred vodka Red Bulls, since the Guinness rules state that each drink must be different. However, most of the drinks on his list were quickies made from two or three ingredients.
Raph established a breakneck pace, finishing each drink in about five seconds. Behind the bar he stockpiled 110 bottles of vodka and tequila, as well as gallons of fruit juice. Three bar-backs worked in unison to clear drinks and clean glasses.
Each drink was examined and counted by Guinness adjudicator Carlos Martinez, who flew in Thursday from New York. Martinez travels to different cities each week to observe world-record attempts. Last week it was Cancun, where an aquarium broke the record for the most dolphins born in captivity.
So who got to taste all those cocktails? Only a few people. Most were dumped out so the glasses could be washed and promptly re-used.
Just before his challenge, Raph was worried only about his stamina. But he was confident in the personal workout regiment he designed. It could be the secret to becoming possibly the world's fastest mixologist.
"I've been doing a lot of 'Wii Fit'," he said.
Tom Horgen • 612-673-7909