On the eve of storm St Jude LCC Oxford Circus hosted an event so raucous that some experts blamed the Green Vs. Blue comp for the destruction.
The brainchild of new brand and management company Spirit Animals, run by Sara Malm and Bea Bradsell, the Green Vs. Blue competition was all about colour, chat and varying degrees of madness. It delivered on all of those fronts in glitter covered spades.
The concept was simple. Four teams, two representing Green and sponsors Midori and two representing Blue with sponsors Bols Blue. A series of challenges covering key bartending skills and ultimately a winning team heading off to Amsterdam for a couple of days in the capable hands of Bols Ambassador John Clay.
A quick look at the teams told you very quickly what sort of afternoon everyone involved was in for:
Green Teams Team Sonny: Sonny Hall, Mario Sandgren, Oliver Carolan, Stephanie Rainbow, Guille Uriel Team Sticci: Nicci Stringfellow, Dan Collins, Andrew Shannon, Rhys Wilson, Douglas Graham-Leigh
Blue Teams Team Pineapple: Will ‘Pineapple’ Cassin, Dean Callan, Stu Hudson, Ian Mcintyre and Andrea Montague Team Ali: Alastair Fraser, Des Yatigammana, Steve Harley, Zane Chiswell-Rivas and Charles Montanaro
The bar was packed, the LCC crew were pumping out drinks at a rapid rate (helped by the fact your option when approaching the bar was ‘Green or Blue?’) and Sara was whipping the crowd up into a frenzy.
Green Light Time
The finer points of the competition are, to all intents and purposes, not important. They were being judged on quality of drinks, chat and entertainment and I think it is fair to say that entertainment won out over drinks on the day.
The judging panel being covered in liquid, sung at, shouted at and force-fed some questionable concoctions were John from Bols, Manuel Terron from Midori (over from Australia for the comp) as well as London bartending stalwarts Gareth Evans and Esther Medina Cuesta.
Over the rounds we witnessed Stu Hudson showing his Rematch chops had not deserted him by killing the speed round despite a broken glass. Icing of the entire crowd by Team Sticci, a rendition of ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ by Team Ali (which was followed by a very questionable joke about Tom Cruise and Michael J Fox that had Manny nearly fall off his stool laughing).
We also had some seriously disturbing outfit alterations, a joke from Andrea about her box, break dancing, a drink being made and drunk from a bartenders crotch, several light bulb changes and enough inappropriate gags to make Frankie Boyle proud.
However the judges still had a job to do and they narrowed it down to a final two for the punch off. First up was Team Sonny, although it was quickly obvious that their captain and the most drink man in the room (and possibly the world at that point) was absent. They knocked up a quick punch before revealing to a huge reaction that they had tied Sonny to a lamppost on the street to keep him out of the way.
After people had return from a session of pointing and laughing at the bound leader it was time for Team Pineapple.
Blue Sky Thinking
Now sometimes in competitions you see a presentation that is so close to flawless you wonder why anyone else turns up. Well from the back of the room Team Pineapple certainly appeared in that league.
Despite a captain with a cold so bad he was visibly shaking the whole team got involved to add various elements to the drink. It will come as no surprise to those of you who know some of the names from that team that they took this drink to a whole new level.
Dean’s garnish representing the judging panel under clouds on a carved pineapple sat on the edge of a punch bowl, that was then placed on top of another and finally the drink was poured through the pineapple and allowed to cascade over the two vessels.
It may not have been the tastiest drink to ever win a cocktail comp but the presentation surely saw some 10/10 marks and the first Green Vs. Blue competition was taken out by the Blues of Team Pineapple.
If you weren’t there we imagine you may be kicking yourself a little bit but fear not our friendly readers, we had a quick chat with Sara after the event and it seems you’ll get your chance to get involved or come and watch next year:
‘Myself and Bea wanted to create an event that brought the industry together over what we do best – entertain and create. Despite some minor bumps, we were overwhelmed with love and support, which just proves our point really. This was just the beginning, so expect next year to be bigger, better, bluer and greener.’
BarLifeUK would like to say congratulations to Sara and Bea on a corking day and well done to all the competitors involved for keeping us thoroughly entertained. No event is possible without a fair bit of support so some recognition needs to go out to LCC Oxford Circus, Des and his team as well as all of the sponsors – Midori, Bols, AquaRiva, Beefeater, Stolichnaya and Skipper Rum.
See you next year where we get the feeling Green will be back for revenge in a big way!