The first burst of regional heats for World Class 2013 have taken place, and the results are in
Bartenders attended a session on the brand they wished to work with, and in this first burst of activity, these were:
- Johnnie Walker Super Deluxe: ‘Where flavour is King’
- Tanqueray No 10: ‘Hollywood Cocktails, retro chic’
- Zacapa 23: ‘Bartender barchef’
At the competition heats themselves, entrants faced three rounds. In the first they presented their original, World Class cocktail. In the second they were given a box of mystery ingredients and 10 minutes to create a drink.
And finally, in a challenge to their guest interaction as well as drink-making skills, they were given a random, real-world situation such as ‘a man is early for a blind date, and wants help selecting a suitable cocktail’.
Southern Heat Results
Six of the best bartenders in the South of England congregated in Bristol for the Southern heat of the World Class competition. Representatives from Bournemouth, Reading and of course Bristol nervously readied themselves for action, with tables quickly covered in equipment and bottles.
As we have come to expect from competitions in Bristol the standard was exceptionally high. The three rounds gave each bartender a chance to show all aspects of their skills and when the judges sat down at the end the top three were separated by fractions.
The top three not only showcased great drinks but fantastic creativity as well as first class banter and customer reading. In the end it was Mark Scott from Hyde & Co in Bristol who took out first place and a spot in the next round of the competition.
As well as handling a rather raucous group of rugby players in his Bar Scenario round he also showed his versatility using 3 different brands in his three different rounds.
It was, however, his superb Zacapa based Under The Clouds cocktail, which tipped him over the line. So good, Ron Zacapa Brand Manager and fellow judge Daniel Dove declared it ‘one of, if not the, best Zacapa cocktail I’ve ever had’.
Mark Scott’s Original Cocktail
Under The Clouds (per drink)
- 40ml Zacapa Centenario
- 20ml salted pineapple syrup*
- 20ml coconut water (Vita Coco)
- 2 dashes orange bitters (Regan’s no.6)
Stir all the above until chilled. Decant into a sharing bottle and finish with pina colada smoke** Serve with a glass for each drinker.
*1:1 caster syrup salted with Maldon smoked salt. Infused for 24 hours with fresh pineapple.
**a blend of apple and cherry woods, desiccated coconut and dried lemon and orange peels.
Manchester Heat Results
We always look forward to competition heats in Manchester.
The standard of creativity is usually top notch and Northern bartenders (if we can be forgiven for making a sweeping regional statement) have not forgotten that visiting a bar is supposed to be a fun experience, and their presentations generally reflect this.
We weren’t disappointed on either front, and can honestly say that overall, this was the best competition heat we’ve ever judged.
All of the drinks were great, and each competitor had clearly put thought and effort into their presentations. This, however, posed a problem for the judges because when we tallied our score sheets, two competitors were tied.
This is quite remarkable given there were three judges scoring a raft of categories. To end up with exactly the same points total for the top two bartenders almost never happens, and gives a true indication of how close the comp was.
As it happens, neither of the winners were from Manchester, which in itself is unusual, but there was no doubt that Lucy Horncastle (The Victoria, Birmingham) and Michael Braun –(Bibis Italianissimo, Leeds) thoroughly deserved to jointly win the heat, and stand a great chance of progressing through to later stages of World Class.
Lucy Horncastle – The Victoria, Birmingham
Tangborne Nettle Adventure (TNA).
- 2 blackberries
- 5ml lemon juice
- 15ml oatmeal syrup
- 50ml Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve
- 25ml nettle tea
Crush the blackberries in the bottom of a mixing glass, fill with ice and add the ingredients in the order above. Stir, but not for too long, as the tea is already mainly water; its more for mixing all the ingredients together than diluting.
Serve straight up (as any good whisky should be!) in a martini glass and garnish with a blackberry on the rim.
Michael Braun – Bibis Italianissimo, Leeds
- 45ml Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve
- 20ml Honeycomb and tonka bean infused Johnnie Walker Black Label
- 10ml Olorosso Sherry
Build all ingredients into desired (whisky) glass and rest for the customer. Ice is optional for customers preference.
Garnished with Homey and thyme ganache and Johnnie Walker Black Label infused biltong.
Scottish Heat Results
Seven of Scotland’s finest bartenders converged on Edinburgh’s Last Word Saloon for the Scottish World Class heat last week, and from the off, the standard of drinks was incredibly high.
BarLifeUK were struck not only by the overall standard, which was very high, but also by the prevalence of non-standard ingredients being used.
Several bartenders used various acids, and in some cases saline solution, in their cocktails.
We’ve seen this before of course, but never as frequently in one competition and by a spread of bartenders. It seems that Scotland is in the midst of a chemical trend.
The judging sheet scores were almost inseparable right to the end. However, in the final, ‘scenario’ round, Kevin Griffin’s questions to his pseudo guest, Zacapa ambassador Daniel Dove, and the way he interpreted his answers into a suitable cocktail lifted him ahead of the rest, and the final tally scored him the winner.
Congratulations then to Kevin Griffin of Edinburgh’s Tigerlily for winning the heat, and progressing to the UK final.
Kevin Griffin’s original cocktail
The Last Supper
- 50ml Zacapa 23
- 30ml Barolo Cocchi chinato
- 7.5ml Cherry Marnier
- 3 dashes of Chuncho Bitters
Method: Stir over 3 balls of Ice in a stemmed mixing jug. Served in room temperature glass cups.
Garnish: Red cherry, marinated in Zacapa, Barolo and bitters
The drink was served with a Buckwheat cake and Zacapa butter:
- 125gr Buckwheat flour
- 90gr Sugar
- 120gr Raisins, previously soaked in Zacapa.
- 10cl Oil
- 3 Eggs
- Pinch of salt.
Bake for 50 minutes at 160*c
We will publish the London heat results shortly.