With a trip to Barbados up for grabs it was an understandably tough first heat for the Mount Gay Black Barrel Competition.
It wasn’t just one spot up for grabs but the top two were heading to Barbados in September to battle it out at the final, so there were some nervous looking bartenders as BarLifeUK turned up at 5CC to judge the first of six heats.
There was nowhere to hide either with each competitor being given just 4 minutes (plus 2 minutes prep time) to make two serves of their Black Barrel cocktail as well as including the words original spirit, handcrafted and bold into their presentations. The judges that needed to be impressed were Mount Gay Brand Ambassador Miguel Smith, Remy Cointreau’s Matt O’Connor and BarLifeUK.
The drinks themselves had to contain a minimum of 30ml of Black Barrel and a maximum of 6 ingredients which led to some really interesting and very diverse cocktails. Aaron Masonde from Oblix managed to track down the local Bajan favourite Mauby which pleased Miguel greatly.
Marc Puigantell had traveled the furthest from the Coast to Coast bar in Stevenage and his drink, which included an amazing homemade raisin and camomile syrup, was one of the most dramatic serves of the day appearing from under a cloud of smoke. LAB’s Marco Piroli also used smoke to great effect as well as a barrel to serve the drinks on which earned him a close but no cigar third spot.
Line of the day went to Nikolett Maczo of The Club at the Ivy who announced whilst garnishing her drink ‘Just cuz I’m girly and we can be tiki as f’. The most original presentation award has to go to Soho House’s Nicolo whose entire chat was based on a flirtatious conversation between a Bajan bartender and beautiful female customer – due to hair length we decided Miguel could play the part of the female customer…
As the home of Rihanna music had to play a part in a Barbados based competition and Tomas Cisty of Barrio East provided his own backing track for his performance. It was left up to Peg & Partriot’s Antanas Kacinskas to claim best use of music however, infusing his Mount Gay Black Barrel with chilli using sound waves!
As you can see the competition was tight but the two winners had to be picked and after the maths had been done the two people heading to Barbados are Timmy Falzon from Mahiki who impressed with a twist on the Red Hook which included coconut water ice cubes and immediately took us to back to a Barbados beach.
The other person packing their sunscreen and budgy smugglers was another competitor from The Club at the Ivy, Luke Ridge. His drink was another that transported us back to sunshine and lapping waves however it was his limeric including the 3 key-words that saw him stand out from the crowd.
Well done to everyone who competed on the day for giving us such a great afternoon and extra thanks to Charles Montanaro and his team at 5CC for looking after so well. 2 spots down, 10 to fill.
Timmy Flazon – Off The Hook
50ml Mount Gay Black Barrel
15ml Lillet Blanc
15ml Mandarin Napoleon
5ml sugar syrup (2:1)
6 drops of Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Stirred with normal ice cubes, pour over coconut water ice cube and stir briefly to get some dilution from coconut cube. Garnish with orchid suspended in coconut water ice-cube.
Luke Ridge – Barbados or Bust
60ml Mount Gay Black Barrel
30ml coconut cream
10ml lemon juice
10ml vanilla sugar
2.5ml Fernet Branca