16 bartenders attempt to avoid their Waterloo and make it into the top places for a trip to Belgium at the Mandarine Napoleon Final.
BarLifeUK and Cellar Trends were on the banks of the Thames to send five lucky bartenders on a unique trip to do battle in the Mandarine Napoleon Final. The opulence and majesty of the Verta Hotel provided a perfect setting for a spirit of such regal history as Mandarine Napoleon. Helicopters landed throughout the afternoon on the Battersea helipad just outside the window, creating a spectacle fit for an Emperor or even a competition finalist.
Zoran Peric was on hand to make sure we tried at least of couple of his array of signature serves which graced the room full of fervent bartenders. These were, of course, accompanied by a range of canapés and the sound of glassware being polished along with the characteristic clink of barspoons which always seems to resonate from a competition waiting room.
The UK semi-finals saw a massive turnout from across the country and boasted a diverse range of drinks incorporating everything from home-made chocolate, home-cut glassware, fire (naturally) and a joke or two about the Belgians thrown in for good measure.
It was exciting to see that all corners of England were represented quite evenly, making the afternoon a battle of Napoleonic standards. The level of presentation was impressive and covered an exceptionally wide range of themes. All the judges agreed that there was not one weak entrant present, but even with this uniformly high standard the final decision had to be made.
Finally, after a prolonged discussion in a private meeting room which we sort of just found and wondered into, the judges decided on the top five finalists and their delicious creations:
Emperors Cup by Francisco Santos , The Ritz
40ml Mandarine Napoleon
10ml lemon juice
15ml orange juice
2 dashes Cacao bitters
Shaken and served straight up in martini glass. Garnish with Shaved Chocolate and Orange Twist. Served on Silver tray with Surprised Box with Caramelized Mandarins and Chocolate
Man Apoleon Darine by Beka Khmaladze , Chelsea Brassiere
37.5ml Mandarine Napoleon
25ml (Cherry and Tangerine) infused Bowmore 12yr whiskey
12.5ml Home Made Sweet Vermouth aged in Bourbon Oak Barrel
3 dashes Bob’s Mandarine Bitters
Mix all ingredients in mixing jar with ice and serve neat in the wine glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry & orange zest.
The Pink Panther Pursuit by Sebastien Guesdon , Roast
35ml Manadarine Napoleon Imperial
5ml hibiscus syrup
5ml fresh lemon juice
25ml lychee juice
Shaken and served into a champagne coupette no ice Toped up with English sparkling wine chapter 2. Garnish with a hibiscus flower
Napoleons Dynamite by Nick Fox of Leelex Ltd
50ml Mandarine Napoleon
12.5ml Goslings 151
12.5ml Domaine de Canton
3 drops of rhubarb bitters
Cognac and 151 in 1 wine glass, mandarine in the other glass (151 to help with abv and lighting). Boiling water in old fashioned glass/ tankard (put to one side). Heat both glasses and set a light. Pass burning liquid from one glass to the other blazer style 5 or 6 times. extinguish. and add a nice mint sprig to the warm liquid. Remove boiling water from tankard. Leave mint for 15/20 seconds before removing. Add 3 drops of rhubarb bitters and Domaine de Canton, slight stir and serve. Garnish with mint sprig for 20 seconds then removed.
The Golden Bee by Dan Bovey, Sahara Bar, Reading
30ml Mandarine Napoleon
30ml Smatts White Rum
15ml Martini Rosso
15ml Kamm & Sons
4 dashes orange bitters
Stir and serve over ice with a lemon twist.
Congratulations to all of the competitors, especially to those who made the trip in from afar.