A trip to Venezuela in 2023 was the top prize in the recent UK final of this year’s Diplomático Mixed Consciously competition.
Diplomático have a rich history of excellent cocktail competitions. In 2013 BarLifeUK judged the heats of the competition which saw an epically good final including young pups Gareth Evans (pre hashtag), Samantha Fish, Alex Proudfoot, Kitty Gardner and victor Jon Lister. In 9 years the names may have changed but the quality of the finalists was just as high:
Alexandra Fryday – Hedonist, Leeds
Alex Holmes – Tabula Rasa, Leeds
Samuel McGuigan – Shucks, Glasgow
Josh Linfitt – Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling, St Ives
Aiden Marshall – Shucks, Glasgow
Thomas Mialhe – Laki Kane, London
Ashley Haines – 7 Bone, Reading
Daniel Bovey – The Raven, Bristol
Shaun Hall – V&B, Lincoln
One thing that has changed in those 9 years is the essence of the competition, Mixed Consciously is designed to celebrate sustainability. As well as a trip to Venezuela the winners drink will also feature in the 2023 edition of the Diplomático Zero Waste Cocktail Book. With this in mind the judging criteria not only featured the usual taste and creativity categories but also the bartender’s ability to apply sustainable practices to their drink.
This focus was also reflected in the judging panel with Tatiana Velez, a climate change and sustainable development expert and specialist in international tourism and hospitality management joining the 2021 winner Katie Rouse and Thanos Prunarus from one of our favourite bars Baba au Rum in Athens. Katie was also hosting the final in her fantastic bar Couch in Stirchley, Birmingham.
Unsurprisingly, with such a strong line up, the bartenders made the judges work hard for their supper, as Tatiana explains ‘It was a true delight to have the opportunity to taste such outstanding cocktails and judge such talent and craft. It was also quite tough as all the finalists did an incredible job. It was brilliant to see sustainable cocktails that were stunning and creative – We have serious talent in this country.’
The champion for 2022 was Josh Linfitt from Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling, proving once again what we’ve always known, South West is best. Also shoutouts to Daniel Bovey and Shaun Hall for collecting second and third respectively.
We had a chat with Josh to find out the inspiration behind his drink, the ingredients and his approach to the all important sustainability elements:
‘My entry to the Diplomático Mixed Consciously Competition takes inspiration from all the adventures and rad people I’ve met in my life. My roles within hospitality have allowed me the great gift of friendship; one super cool person I met goes by the name of Patrick, he grows some super cool produce in his poly tunnel half an hour drive from the @uglybutterflybyah
Using Patrick’s homegrown lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, I wanted to make an ingredient that would bring obvious acidity and depth but also a light bubbled mouth feel – a hard seltzer was my go-to as I wanted to bring the booze in this low ball serve.
Working within our sustainable ‘Ugly Butterfly’ way, I reached into the kitchen and was passed the offcuts of super in-season local pear, which makes up the main component in our current dessert dish. These flavoursome trimmings are a great addition to the base spirit of vodka and locally foraged nasturtium. The pear and nasturtium liqueur brings sweetness, loads of fruity notes and a wonderful light white pepper tingle on the tongue, partnering incredible well with Diplomático Planas’ super tasty tropical notes of coconut. It also boasts and boosts the salted caramel and vanillin’s.
I wanted to pair a snack to this cocktail but on reflection I already had one using the ingredients in front of me. Working towards zero waste and bringing a few techniques, I created a tasty little one bite wonder that compliments the cocktail perfectly!
Dehydrated pear slice, Cocchi americano compressed pear, Nasturtium gel and petals sit on top of the ice – 100% edible, so there’s nothing left
This is my cocktail “Deep admiration” named after my respect for my friends!’
Deep Admiration – Josh Linfitt, Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling
40ml Diplomático Planas
25ml Pear and nasturtium liqueur
50ml Lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaf hard seltzer
Huge congratulations to Josh, we look forward to hearing about all the adventures in Venezuela.
We will leave the final words with the UK’s Diplomático Amabassador Dean MacGregor, ‘Josh absolutely nailed the concept of the competition in which he celebrated his community and peers of the industry, through his use of both locally grown and discarded ingredients from his restaurant’s kitchen. His impressive and creative use of homemade ingredients resulted in a stunning multi-layered serve allowing Diplomático Planas to shine through.’