Diplomatico London Bars Heat Results

Two more competitors for the Diplomatico UK finals were chosen in the second London Heat, and eleven others got very very drunk on delicious rum cocktails, so it seems that everyone is a winner! (Sort of.)

Try not to look so excited, Fraser.

Declan McGurk (of the clan McGurk – in the end there can be only one) welcomed twelve lads and one lady to Brewdog in Shoreditch for the second London heat of the Diplomatico Competition.

BarLifeUK sat on the judging panel with Ryan “just call me Ryan” Chetiyawardana, and Fraser “seriously, I AM Scottish!” Chapman, owner/publican of Hunter S. in Highbury.

The two winners of this heat will go on to compete against eight other bartenders for a wicked five star trip to Venezuela and 5000 lovely green US dollars. With such a wicked prize at stake, the competitors were understandably nervous, and for some that meant rather hilarious errors. Click on the city to read about the Scotland and Northern heats.

Lime juice, bitters, and yes, even rum (?!) were among the ingredients left out of cocktails, and those mistakes took a number of serious contenders out of the running. Attempts to bribe BarLifeUK with gifts of roses and chocolate were most welcome, but had no actual bearing on the competition results. Really.

Still, competition was fierce, and the judges deliberated for what seemed like hours. Possibly because it actually took the better part of an hour. But we got there in the end, and after Declan (rightly) thanked the Brewdog pack and the competitors for their patience, the winners were announced.

Fraser Barrett, from LCC Goodge St, took a coveted place in the UK final with his cocktail, The Treasure of Terepaima. With only three ingredients, the resulting cocktail was light, but also subtly complex.

Fraser’s bar nerd ingredients – homemade falernum concocted with no less than seven distinct flavours, and a cider vinegar shrub – highlighted Diplomatico’s unique qualities. The homemade chocolate almond swizzle stick, which perfectly complimented the drinks tangy acidity, rounded out the presentation beautifully.

Jon, deep in thought… or possibly constipated.

Not to be outnerded, the second winner, Jon Lister from Flat P employed both a syphon and sous vide preparation for his puntastically named Beauty and the Beets. His high energy and engaging banter won him points, as did the care with which he handled the delicate flavours at play in his drink. I don’t want to BEET around the bush here – the drink was delicious.

Beetroot (obv), a homemade balsamic, and Meantime chocolate porter reduction managed to play well together, bound as they were by Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva. And Jon’s serve, setting the too-cloudy drink in a miniature garden of cocoa-cardamom soil and candied beetroot, surely counts as one of this judge’s five-a-day. Right?

The Drinks

Treasure of Terepaima – Fraser Barrett

  • 50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
  • 35ml Homemade falernum, made with Diplomatico Blanco, lime zest, almond, anise, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger)
  • 15ml Homemade shrub, made with cider vinegar and demerara sugar

Shaken and served over crushed ice in snifters.
Garnished with homemade dark chocolate almond swizzle sticks, and figs dusted with cardamom and cocoa.

Beauty and the Beets – Jon Lister

  • 40ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
  • 2.5ml homemade balsamic, which was flash infused in an isi syphon and aged with bourbon flambé cheery wood-chip for 24 hours
  • 15ml homemade Meantime Chocolate Porter beetroot reduction, which was made by reducing the porter, then adding sugar and a parcel of beetroot that had been prepared sous vide at 50 degrees Celsius
  • 2 drops Bob’s chocolate bitters
  • 1 drop cardamom bitters