This week saw Bramble host the first heat of the Diplomatico World Tournament Competition with 14 bartenders from across Scotland fighting it out.
The number of entrants into this year’s competition, with a top prize of a trip to Venezuela and the chance to win $5,000, was unprecedented and one look around the bar quickly showed the quality of bartenders it had attracted.
Many had made the journey over from Aberdeen or Glasgow and the banter, which was at a superb level throughout, started the moment a new entrant walked through the door.
With Robert ‘Skippy’ Jupp, Business Development Manager for Diplomatico distributor Speciality Brands on hosting duty we were in good hands and soon underway.
Joining BarLifeUK on the Judging panel was the formidable pairing of Scott Gemmell, local legend and boss man at LA Group, alongside Fever Tree Soft Drinks and fridge carrying stalwart Craig Harper.
The competitors were up against it with just 5 minutes to create two serves of their drink and wow us with brand knowledge in front of a packed house of competitors and supporters.
The quality and variety of the drinks was great. However what really stood out for the judges was the imagination and thought that had been put into every element of the drinks. Whether it been a homemade ingredient, a garnish or some food matching each competitor had gone that little extra mile to impress.
Two winners will be heading to London for the UK final but before we get to them a special mention has to be given.
In judging competitions there are certain drinks, which stand out for originality to such a level you find yourself talking about them for days afterwards. They also tend to be drinks which when explained before tasting leave you convinced that it’s going to be a disaster.
So it was with David Smillie from Booly Mardy’s in Glasgow who, when creating a twist on a Pina Colada using Diplomatico Blanco, Coconut Water, Pineapple Syrup and Lime Juice reached for a bunch of fresh parsley. As you may well be able to imagine, my mouth wasn’t watering at the prospect but the drink was stunning.
Hats off to David for making all three judges lose their pre-conceptions and a well-deserved bottle of Diplomatico went his way. Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
However even that wasn’t enough to get him in the top two, the standard of the winning drinks were so high. So massive congratulations go to Kitty Gardener from The Last Word & Bramble in Edinburgh and Ryan Rhodes of The Tippling House in Aberdeen.
A big thank you to Bramble for hosting the competition and the staff for keeping such a large and enthusiastic crowd well lubricated during the comp.
Their winning specs are below and we look forward to remaining 4 heats, which will be taking place next week. Keep an eye on BarLifeUK to find out the winners and finalists drinks.
Ryan Rhodes, Tippling House, Aberdeen
Green Hill Sour
40ml Diplomatico Blanco
10ml Gentian Liqueur
25ml grapefruit and lemon juice mix
1 barspoon cinnamon and granulated sugars
2 dashes celery bitters
½ egg white
Dry shake before shaking with ice and serving with a pink peppercorn and rose petal garnish.
Kitty Gardener, The Last Word & Bramble, Edinburgh
50ml Diplomatico Anejo
12.5ml Maraschino cherry juice
Ice cream scoop of homemade Porter and Vanilla Sorbet
2 dashes Regan’s Bitters
Shaken hard and strained into a glass coffee cup on saucer with vanilla biscuit curls.