Yesterday saw the semi-final of the Peter F. Heering Sling Award take place in London to decide the final 5 who would be competing in the final at BCB.
The competition was created to encourage bartenders to grab the bottle of Cherry Heering off their back bar and getting creative with it. The task was to create a unique twist on the classic Singapore Sling to inspire bartenders across the world.
Since the competition started in April, Cherry Heering received over 2,000 entries which were whittled down to 44 quarter-finalists (one from each country that entered). From there a group of industry experts picked the top 17 who each received a tablet computer and instructions on the 3 minute video they had to create showing their cocktail.
The next stage will be a trip to BarLifeUK’s favourite bar show, the always superb Bar Convent Berlin (BCB), for the top 5 where they will compete for the top prize of 500 Euros, Stelton Shaker and global recognition.
Getting the 17 down to 5 was were we came in, so yesterday we headed to The Cabinet Room in London where we were joined on the judging panel by the UKBG’s Luca Cordiglieri, Marussia Beverages’ Luisa Halle’n and our host Simon Difford from diffordsguide. The team from Cherry Heering were also on hand to make sure we didn’t get distracted.
Sling Around The World
Due to the global nature of the entrants it was understandably not possible to fly them all over to the UK for the semi-final. We did however have their videos showing them making their drinks as well as their recipe specs ensuring Simon could knock up the cocktails for us all to try.
Each entry followed the same process which started with a screening of their videos providing a great insight into their characters as well as an understanding of the inspiration behind their creations. All the videos were entertaining but special mentions need to go to Rhys Wilson, representing Indonesia, with his ingredient treasure hunt, Nick Kobbernagel Hovind from Denmark whose film took an unusual angle and New Zealand’s Venetia Tiarks who went for the silent movie and sepia look to tell her story.
Next up we had a look at their specs whilst Simon knocked the drinks up for us. Finally was the tasting which, despite the slightly unusual format, was still the most important factor in our scoring, accounting for 50% of the total score (other criteria included name, imagination of interpretation, appearance and worldwide appeal).
It was fascinating to see which ingredients and trends are popular around the world, equally it was surprising to see how many different ingredients, styles and tastes were represented by the 17 drinks.
The quality was generally very good with certain drinks such as Taoufike Zrafi’s entry relying on very simple and few ingredients to produce a superbly balanced drink harking back to the more historically bitter version of the Sling. Whereas others, such as Signapore’s own Aron Christian Lobrino Manzanillo used almost as many ingredients as there are letters in his name, in a drink and recipe more recognisable as the modern Singapore Sling.
At the end of the day our scores were collated and the final five chosen. Those five who will be heading to Berlin and BCB in October are (in alphabetical country order) Taoufike Zrafi from Canada, Nick Kobbernagel Hovind from Denmark, Sigrid Sarv from Estonia, Aron Christian Lobrino Manzanillo from Singapore and Jon Kraus from USA.
Congratulations to the finalists and good luck to them all in the final. The judges are going to have a tough job over there.
Canada, Taoufike Zrafi – Le Pandore, Montreal
The Bittered Sling
- 30 ml Cherry Heering
- 30 ml Tanqueray gin
- 15 ml Fernet Branca
- 15 ml Orgeat syrup
- 15 ml fresh lemon juice
- 45 ml Fever Tree ginger ale
Denmark, Nick Kobbernagel Hovind – Ruby, Copenhagen
The Sloe Sling
- 20ml Cherry Heering
- 15ml Bitter Truth Sloe gin
- 40ml Aalborg Taffel Aquavit
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 30ml Fresh lemon juice
- 10ml Simple Syrup
- 1 small dash egg white
Estonia, Sigrid Sarv – Club Bibabo, Tallinn
- 15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 15 ml Cherry Heering Liqueur
- 30 ml Miyagikyo Single Malt 10 Whiskey
- 15 ml Martini Rosato
- 30 ml D.O.M Benedictine Liqueur
- 15 ml Cointreau
- 80 ml Sweet Berry Tea
- 20 ml Pineapple Juice
- 1 Bar Spoon of Grenadine Syrup
- 2 Dash of Fee Brothers Plum Bitter
Singapore, Aron Christian Lobrino Manzanillo – Long Bar, Singapore
Fables of the East
- 20ml Cherry Heering
- 15ml Tanquerey 10 Gin
- 10ml Aperol
- Dash of Angustora Bitters
- 15ml Lemon Juice
- 10ml Simple Syrup
- 35ml Pineapple Juice
- 3 pcs. Amarena Cherry
- 3 Thick Slices of Celery
- Splash of Soda water
USA, Jon Kraus – The Gilroy, New York
- 15ml Cherry Heering
- 30ml Ilegal Joven Mezcal
- 15ml Barolo Chinato
- 15ml Yellow Chartreuse
- 7.5ml Ancho Reyes
- 22.5ml Lime
- 2 x 1″ pineapple chunks
- pinch sea salt
- club soda top