The second heat of the Flor de Cana cocktail competition recently took place at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh.
After the quality of drinks at the recent Manchester heat the Scottish bartenders had a tough job on their hands to make sure they were competitive at the UK final. One of the unique points of this competition, of course, being that the UK final takes place in Nicaragua.
The back room at Voodoo Rooms was full of bartenders and supporters as I arrived and it wasn’t long before myself and my fellow judge Eduardo Gomez from Flor de Cana were taking our seats at the bar ready to be wowed.
Scotland is sometimes overlooked by cocktail competitions and every time I am lucky enough to judge up there I have to wonder why. Once again not only were the drinks of great quality but the imagination in styles, ingredients and presentation was excellent.
To highlight this uniqueness was the fact that not once, with the exception of Flor de Cana, egg and lemon juice, was the same ingredient used twice. Not even the same type of bitters used twice, it was great to see so many different flavour profiles taken from the same base ingredient.
Before we get to the winner a special mention has to be given to one of the most imaginative presentations I have seen in quite some time. Dan presented his cocktail the One Armed Bandit as if the customer was sat at a slot machine in Vegas.
First you get the 3 cherries, in went cherry infused Port, next spin gets you 3 lemons, time for some lemon sherbet, 3 bells saw Red Bell Pepper Syrup and so it continued with the Orange, Plums and finally the Jackpot in the shape of Flor de Cana. A brilliant idea, very well executed.
Iain McPherson won the award for name of the day with the Ron Flor Your Life. Both Adam Douglas and Emma made the judging decision very tricky with their drinks the Nicaraguan Flip and Nuts About Nicaragua respectively.
However the winner on the day and the person booking their seat on the plane to Nicaragua to take on the winners of the Manchester and London heats is Russell Downie from Tigerlily with his drink Bitter Sweet de Cana. With the competition revolving around the number 7 the idea of adding 7ml of the various ingredients was exceptionally clever and making the drink still come across as balanced showed great skill and ingredient knowledge.
Congratulations to Russell, thank you to The Voodoo Rooms for excellent hospitality and Flor de Cana for putting together such a great competition. On January 17th the London final takes place to see who books the final seat to the UK final.
Bitter Sweet de Cana
40ml Flor de Cana
7ml Velvet Falernum
7ml Crème de Peche
7ml Angostura Bitters