La Hechicera Send Two Bartenders to Colombia

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.

Walter Pintus from The Ritz

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 from Orchid Bar

Alex Lawrence, Orchid bar

Lady Colombia

  • 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
  • Egyptian chamomile blossoms, house-made cocoa bitters
  • 3 Drops of cocoa oil

Stir over ice and strain into a large stemless wine glass. Garnish with fresh caviar lime and serve with chocolate truffles


  • Alex Lawrence of Orchid Aberdeen;
  • Ben Manchester of Hotel du Vin Brighton Brighton;
  • Dalia Karuzaite of Floridita, London;
  • Damiano Madeddu of Rivoli Bar, The Ritz, London;
  • Jamie Stevenson of The Blackbird, Edinburgh;
  • Malgorzata Szwadzka of 5 Hertford Street, London;
  • Matteo Corsalini of China Tang, The Dorchester, London;
  • Neil Donachie of Popolo, Newcastle;
  • Paulo Guasco of Blue Boar Bar, London;
  • Rafal Tetich of Merkaba, Brighton;
  • Sian Ferguson of 99 Bar and Kitchen, Aberdeen;
  • Thomas Muller of Blue Boar Bar, London;
  • Vincenzo Pagliara of Montgomery Place, London;
  • Walter Pintus of Rivoli Bar, The Ritz, London.