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CNBC.com will be in New Orleans for the 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail festival from July 16-20. Check back for our coverage throughout of the trends shaping what you'll drink at home and on the town—and how much you'll spend to do so.
Do men or women make better bartenders?
Mandarine Napoleon gathered two four-person teams, one of men and one of women, to mix drinks using the spirit for the second annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes on Wednesday. (Last year, the ladies reigned supreme.)
CNBC asked competitors why their skills were superior.
"We have more attention to detail," said Annemarie Sago of The Dawson in Chicago. That ranges from picking the perfect garnish to noticing when the contents of a customer's glass are running low. (Her drink: "Peu de Vert," using blanco tequila, mezcal, green Chartreuse, verdita mix and lime.)
Not so, said the men.
"It's about experience, tradition and class," said Chris Bostick of Half Step in Austin. "You asked." (His drink, "Waterloo Reserve," used just the Mandarine Napoleon with raspberry and ginger syrups, lime juice and soda water.)
Zachary Patterson of Melrose Umbrella Co. in Los Angeles was quick to say it's all friendly rivalry. "I work with some of the best female bartenders," he said. (His drink: "Grandpa Johnson's Cough Syrup," using apricot brandy, tequila, grenadine and lime.)
"I don't think you can reduce it to gender," said Naomi Schimek of Spare Room in Los Angeles. (Her drink, "Of All The Things I've Lost, I Miss My Mind the Most," incorporated rum, passionfruit, bitters, citrus, vanilla and nutmeg.)
Read More6 over-the-top cocktail splurges
When the votes had all been tallied, the men's team won. But the competitors said there really were no losers: The prize is a donation to the team's charity of choice ... and of course, bragging rights.
"I'm here," Bostick said. "I've already won."
—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant