El Dorado Vessel Competition Regional Heat Results

There was a time when rum competitions would see you exit proceedings with singed eyebrows, covered in pineapple juice.

Rasa Gaidelyte poses with her ‘Jaguar Bite’ cocktail

In recent years, rum’s position has evolved from beach-party spirit to well-understood cocktail base, and the comps have grown up a bit.

This is probably a good thing for the sector, if not so much the judges and spectators, however, El Dorado competitions always seem to strike a balance between the two extremes, and as such we look forward to judging them.

This year, El Dorado took a break from their perennial Swizzle comp and commissioned two bespoke vessels, both of which were designed to highlight a facet of the rum’s Guyana home.

The first, a green ceramic bromeliad, complete with yellow poison arrow frog perched on the rim, calls to mind the humid jungles of Guyana.

The second is a bamboo mug which has been laser etched with the mottled pattern of a Jaguar’s coat (which almost everyone in the competition referred to as leopardskin).

The brief for this comp was simple: The bromeliad vessel was matched with El Dorado 3YO, and the Jaguar mug with El Dorado 5YO – pick one and create a drink that tastes great and reflects both the serving vessel and the rum in it.

David Hamilton Boyd making his ‘Walt’s 1595 Explorer’s Swizzle’

Five heats were held across the UK, with two regional winners (three in the case of East London, due to a greater number of entrants) from each going through to the London final, where the ultimate winner will be decided, and receive a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Guyana for their efforts.

The quality at all five heats was exceptional, with presentations that featured everything from traditional tiki fire fests to out-and-out chemical geekery.

There were great drinks at every heat, but it must be said that whoever is doing competition training in Leeds is really nailing it – the heat at Mojo provided some of the best ‘knowledge and promotion’ marks BarLifeUK have seen in a long time.

Congratulations to all the regional winners, and we’ll be seeing you soon at the final to find out who will bag a seat on the plane to Guyana.

The winners and their drinks

Scotland heat winners:  Matt Wakeford – G&V Hotel (Edinburgh); Emma Andrews – Heads & Tails (Edinburgh)

Matt Wakeford – What’s Your Poison

  • 50ml El Dorado 3YO
  • 25ml Tangerine juice
  • 20ml Creme de Figue
  • 12.5ml Yellow Chartreuse
  • 25ml Pomegranate molasses
  • 25ml Rubicon guava
  • 3 Dash chocolate bitters

Combine, shake and strain over crushed ice.

Emma Andrews – Cat-astro-tree

  • 50ml El Dorado 5YO
  • 25ml Lime juice
  • 25ml Cherry Oleo
  • 25ml Cinnamon and vanilla-infused Mauby tree bark syrup

Combine, shake and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig, cherry and dehydrated lime.

Leeds heat winners – Dan Crowther – Sandinista (Leeds); Lee Jones – Smokestack (Leeds)

Dan Crowther – Snickerbocker Glory

  • 50ml El Dorado 5YO
  • 50ml Snickers ganash
  • 12.5ml White cacao
  • 50ml Half and half

Blend and serve.

Lee Jones – Six Degrees From a Hopping Nation

  • 60ml El Dorado 3YO
  • 20ml Lime juice
  • 40ml Apricot syrup
  • 10ml Simple syrup
  • 40ml Coconut water
  • 5ml Cacao blanc

Combine, shake and strain. Garnish with ‘swamp’ mint, ‘lily’ lime wheels and candy frogs.

West London heat winners: Rasa Gaidelyte – LAB (London); Angelo Rossi – Equus (London)

Rasa Gaidelyte – Jaguar Bite

Due to Rasa’s utterly unintelligible handwriting, the specs for her drink are unavailable. But we can report that it was super tasty, and had El Dorado 5YO, Benedictine and Mango in it.

Angelo Rossi – Wendy Darling

  • 25ml El Dorado 3YO
  • 15ml Pregla Liquor
  • 15ml Tip Pepe Sherry Fino
  • 15ml Creme de banana
  • 50ml Chai tea
  • 50ml Lychee juice

East London heat winners: Joe Scofield – Zetter Townhouse (London); David Hamilton Boyd – Organic Spirits (London); Cedric Buscemi – Barrio North (London)

Joe Scofield – The Bunga Bunga Sour

  • 35ml El Dorado 5YO
  • 10ml Banana liqueur
  • 2.5ml Pimento dram
  • 25ml Egg white
  • 25ml Lemon juice
  • 10ml Sugar syrup
  • 2.5 Dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a lemon zest and banana food essence mist

David Hamilton Boyd – Walt’s 1595 Explorer’s Swizzle

  • 50ml El Dorado 3YO
  • 25ml Lime juice
  • 12.5ml Sarsaparilla syrup
  • Dash Cassareep bitters
  • 50ml Tamarin juice

Cedric Buscemi – Tiki Breakfast

  • 60ml El Dorado 5YO
  • 50ml Almond milk
  • 20ml Sugar cane syrup
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • Clove
  • 2 Dash black walnut bitters

Reading heat winners: Ruairidh Muir – Raoul’s (Oxford); Benji Ryde (Reading)

Ruairidh Muir

  • 60ml El Dorado 5 yo
  • 12.5ml Lime juice
  • 25ml Homemade spiced banana syrup
  • 6-7 Leaves of parsley
  • 2.5ml Green Chartreuse

Shake, fine strain and top with 25ml fruity ale. Garnish with allspice dusted parsley.

Benji Ryde – the Frog-otton City of Gold

  • 50ml El Dorado 3yo
  • 5ml Velvet Falurnum
  • 20ml golden citrus juice*
  • 5ml agave nectar
  • 35ml Sol Beer
  • 1 dash / 4 drops Peychauds Bitters

Churn or swizzle in glass with crushed ice. Cap with more ice. Garnish with orange zest placed on a lily pad with a Freddo chocolate bar.

* Equal measures of fresh lemon, orange and lime juice.