Flor De Cana Florito Competition Southern Heat Results

A packed out The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town recently saw the final heat of the Flor de Cana Grand 7 Florito Cocktail Competition.

Following the heats in Edinburgh and Manchester there was one spot left on the trip to Nicaragua in March for the UK final.

With such a large amount of entries from bartenders all across the south of England, even after dozens had been eliminated through paper judging, we were still left with 21 top bartenders vying for 1 spot in the final.

The competitors awaiting the winning announcement

Before the first bartender stepped behind the bar the staff at The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town had been helping to dispel the competitors nerves by knocking out Flor de Cana Dark ‘n’ Stormy’s and Daiquiri’s. A large crowd of supporters had also gathered and the bar was packed out as the competition kicked off.

The judges joining BarLifeUK on the panel were Eduardo Gomez of Flor de Cana who had been with us at every heat, Marc Catalan the European Brand Manager for Flor de Cana and last year’s winner Brian Calleja, bar manager at Bonds.

Kicking proceedings off was Callum Rumble, it’s hard enough being first up in a competition, even harder with a huge crowd watching but we soon found out that this was also his first ever comp. As it turned out he nailed it, and set the precedent for the day with a cracking drink that was one of the best to be presented.

At the end of his 5 minutes I turned round to get into position to take pictures of the drink and was staring right at a bank of cameras and phones flashing away. For a second I was flattered, all those people wanting pictures of me, that was until one of them waved me out of the way so they could get the pictures they wanted, Callum’s drink.

It turned out Callum wasn’t the only one making his competition debut that day. Several of the other competitors were losing their comp (maraschino) cherry, each one of them was generously supported by the enthusiastic crowd and faced the cocktail paparazzi.

As the afternoon went by in a rum filled haze, drink after drink kept impressing the judges. Some were classic rum style drinks while others stretched the boundaries of imagination. None more so than Kyle from Pollen Street Social who used yogurt powder in his drink. For those wondering, yes it worked, it worked really well.

There were to many great drinks to mention them all but special mention must go to Mark Scott who backed up a competition win the day before in Bristol with another cracking cocktail. 2012 was the year that saw a new breed of female talent come through the ranks in competitions and it appears that 2013 is going to continue this trend with Kathy, Kate and Sylvia all impressing with their showing.

With such a strong (and large) field the judging process was always going to be tricky but after some discussion the top three was decided. In third place came Kyle with his yogurt powder inspired  Chief Nicarao, second place went to Roberto Fiorillo from Mokoko in St Albans with the Chichigalpa Morning Flip.

Benji with his winning drink

However the winner on the day and the person jetting off to Nicaragua for the UK final in March is Benjamin ‘Benji’ Purslow from Ziloufs in London.

It was a great day and special thanks go to all the entrants and their superb supporters as well as Kate and her team from The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town for their superb hospitality. Congratulations also to Flor de Cana for putting on such a great competition with such a great prize. BarLifeUK will be joining the 3 heat winners in Nicaragua and we look forward to telling you all about the trip.

Winner – Benji Purslow, Ziloufs, London

Flor de Banana

37.5ml Flor de Cana
15ml earl grey infused Cocchi Torino
10 crème de banane
2.5ml dark brown sugar gomme
2 dashes peach bitters

Stirred down, strained into a coupette glass and topped with an earl grey and banana flower smoke.