In association with Aussie Spirits and Bombay Sapphire.
England and Australia both fielded teams of four bartenders who would compete in mixology and 20Twenty (speed) rounds. In a cocktail competition first, the fielding team (the one not making drinks) were also able to score points by sledging, which is the cricketing practice of hurling insults at your opponent in an effort to put them off.
MC Jake Burger was to be the judge of effective sledges, which would go on to be crucial as the competition unfolded.
[stextbox id=”info” caption=”What are The Ashes?” color=”000000″]For the uninitiated, the (non-cocktail) Ashes is a series of cricket tests between England and Australia that has been running since 1882, and is the origin of one of sport’s greatest rivalries. England are currently touring Australia in an effort to retain the Ashes title they won on home soil last year – if they do so, it will be for the first time since 1986[/stextbox]
Team captains Stuart Hudson (Aus) and James Wynn-Williams (Eng) called the toin coss (coin toss – you had to be there), with Australia winning and electing to bat first.
Daniel Hutchins-Read and Glenn Morgan stepped up to the crease and immediately the sledging began – with first points going to Wynn-Williams for shouting “Leo Sayer called, he wants his hair back” at a bemused Hutchins-Read.
This set the tone for the rest of the competition, with insults and trash talk flying between the competing teams and, at times, the judges.
It soon became apparent that Team Australia had gone all out in their preparations for the mixology round, with impressive blazer-style drinks from both Hudson and Stuart Fritz.
It also became apparent that Team England (somewhat surprisingly) had the bigger mouths, racking up point after point for successful sledges.
At this stage, the competitors did not know, but Australia had edged the mixology round with consistently higher-scoring drinks, but England had more than made up the deficit with sledging points and were slightly in the lead.
With 100 points going to the winner of the speed round, there was still everything to play for.
The Speed Round
The 20Twenty or speed round required each team to make 12 previously specified drinks in the shortest time possible, with only two competitors behind the bar at any point. Speedy running between the wickets (bar stations) would be crucial.
Time penalties would be awarded for miss-fields (droppages and spillages), dropped catches (missed ingredients) and run-outs (more than two people behind the bar).
The sledging at this stage had degenerated into slightly incoherent shouting with occasional nudity, and provided a very pressurised backdrop for a speed round.
Australia put in what appeared to be a respectable time of 5:17, which looked like bagging them the trophy.
However, England taking inspiration from their cricketing compatriots down under and led by a stirling effort from Lyndon Higginson, shaved more than 2 minutes off Australia’s time with a blazing fast 3:09.
The judges handed in their sheets, the stopwatch was switched off and the calculator turned on. The third umpire reached his verdict – England had a points total of 456, and Australia 362.
The BarLifeUK Cocktail Ashes were staying in England!
- James Wynn-Williams (Capt)
- Lyndon Higinson
- Andy Mil
- Terry Cashman
- Stuart Hudson (Capt)
- Stuart Fritz
- Glenn Morgan
- Daniel Hutchins-Read
- Mark Ludmon – Editor Bar Magazine
- Julian Moss – Owner Aussie Spirits
- Paul McFadyen – Bibendum Spirits Brand Manager
- Sam Carter – Bombay Sapphire UK Brand Ambassador