The final stop on the countrywide mezcal competition tour saw us in The Washhouse, Manchester.
It’s a rare occurrence for BarLifeUK to wake up in Manchester not feeling at least slightly dusty but remarkably as we wandered our way to the other side of the Northern Quarter we were feeling positively sprightly. With us were Sam Burke from Love Drinks and Luis van der Velde representing the wonderful Zignum and El Recuerdo mezcals.
Once at The Washhouse the third judge to be joining BarLifeUK and Luis, in the form of long time BarLifeUK pal Adam Binnersley, arrived and we were ready for action.
Feeling The Heat
As always the heat was split into two rounds, one for El Recuerdo and one for Zignum. On this day we chose to kick things off with Zignum and we quickly found out there was a favourite ingredient in our future. Chillies.
In the end there were three drinks containing chillies that fought it out for the Zignum spot at the final. First up and in her first competition came Yasmin Assan from Band On The Wall who regaled us with stories of her travels around South America and the flavours which inspired her cocktail. It was a tropical explosion with mango and chilli becoming stars of the show.
Science & Industries Dio Tzorouchof also had chillies and mango on his mind, this time they formed the backbone of his lacto-ferment. This plus the Zignum and Yellow Chartreuse created a superbly balanced drink and his sustainability based presentation was also a great listen.
Isaac Alberto from The Alchemist in Birmingham had only got half the memo as there was no mango in sight. In fact his serve was based around a Sangrita and it was a chorizo liqueur that gave the drink a fantastic lift matched by the edible garnish representing the Mexican flag.
In the end it was Dio who triumphed in the heated battle to win himself a place at the UK final.
The El Recuerdo competition was bossed by one competitor in the form of Jamie Gilmour from The Washhouse. His drink Beso (Spanish for kiss) was another inspired by the fantastic food of Mexico. He had produced a delicious red pepper and Mexican oregano syrup which was combined with the El Recuerdo Abocado Con Gusano and lime juice to produce a drink as good to look at as to drink (plus came with a side order of tacos).
So there we have our final two competitors for the final in what is going to be a heck of a battle for the two spots on the trip to Oaxaca. We will, of course, be at the final in Birmingham next week and will be bringing you all the details.
Dio Tzorouchof – Science & Industry, Manchester
Mangoes To Mexico
40ml Zignum Reposado
15ml Yellow Chartreuse
25ml super lime juice
25ml lacto-fermented mango scented honey
10ml sugar syrup
Shake and serve straight up in a Nick ‘n Nora glass.
Jamie Gilmour – The Washhouse, Manchester
50ml El Recuerdo Abocado Con Gusano
25ml red pepper and Mexican oregano syrup
¼ lime muddled
Shaken and served straight up in a Nick n Nora glass with a taco on the side.