The final of the La Hechicera Wanderlust Colombia Challenge saw two bartenders win what has to be one of the biggest competition prizes ever.
After months of collating entries and picking the finalists the final of the Wanderlust Colombia Challenge took place recently at MASH in London.
Up for grabs was a once in a lifetime trip to Colombia for a full month later this year where trips to Bogota and Cartagena will see visits to the cities most prestigious bars plus the opportunity to blend their own rum with La Hechicera Master Blender Maestro Ronero. To top it all off a full salary will also be paid during the trip.
The top 15 battled it out in front of judges, La Hechicera co-founder Miguel Riascos, Becky Paskin, editor of The Spirits Business and Louise Corbin of Barchick.
The eventual winners in a hard fought contest were Alex Lawrence from Orchid Bar in Aberdeen and Walter Pintus from The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz in London.
Miguel, who was over to judge the final, was suitably impressed by the UK talent on show:
“We were very excited to host such a range of finalists, from popular bars through to 5-star hotel bars. All showed inspired and creative originality, and many were keen to challenge convention. Our judging panel was treated with unexpected flavour combinations, adventurous mixing with exotic rare fresh ingredients and the results of refined techniques such as dry-smoking. At the end of the day, the winning cocktails were judged on taste.”
The winning cocktails are below and we can’t wait to hear about all their experiences when they get back to UK shores later in the year. If you want to know what it takes to win a competition like this then head down to the Ritz where Walter will be showing off his drink before he heads off.
Alex Lawrence, Orchid bar
60ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Martini Extra Dry
5ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur
5ml Maple syrup
2 Dashes house blend bitter, pinch of sea salt
Stir over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon zest.
Walter Pintus. The Rivoli Bar
The Rum Baroness
50ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Tintilla De Rota fortified wine
10ml maple syrup blended with Tahitian vanilla beans and