Bartenders from Edinburgh and Aberdeen progress to the El Recuerdo and Zignum national final
This week it was the turn of Scotland’s bartenders to compete in the El Recuerdo and Zignum mezcal competition, with places in the final and ultimately a trip to either Oaxaca or Barcelona up for grabs.
Due to the stupid and last minute realisation that both my passport and drivers licence had expired during lockdown, I was unable to fly to Edinburgh for the heat, so BarLifeUK enlisted a very capable brain and palate belonging to Simon Smith of Whisky & Cynicism to take our place on the judging stool.
Scotland always seems to produce excellent competition drinks, and this heat, held at the wonderfully-named Hoot The Redeemer was no exception, as Simon told me after the fact: “As expected, the drinks’ standards in Edinburgh were top quality. All competitors showed good knowledge of their chosen spirit and how to use it. The Judges all agreed that all of the creations presented were of a high standard, with the winners being chosen for an exceptional use of their chosen spirit and the flavours used to complement it.”
If there is such a thing as a home advantage in cocktail competitions, Cameron Chittleborough from Hoot The Redeemer made the most of it, winning the El Recuerdo comp with a drink called Cosecha de Otoña – a fruity, dry number with El Recuerdo Mezcal, pecan and agave syrup, Mexican corn liquor, Cabernet Sauvignon and some Xocolatl Mole Bitters, served on a block and rock.
Ahsoka Wallace made a worthwhile journey from The Ivy Lodge in Aberdeen to win the Zignum competition with a drink called Spice Boy, consisting of Zignum Reposado, blood orange, chilli and agave syrup, orange bitters and a pinch of salt – garnished with a dehydrated Oaxacan chilli. Simon describes it as aromatic and spicy and a good representation of spirit and heritage.
Congratulations to Cameron and Ahsoka, we’ll be seeing you both in a couple of weeks at the national final.
One regional heat remains, taking place next week in Bristol – another city which always seems to produce cracking competition drinks. We will report on proceedings there soon…