After all the big build up it’s D-Day, time for the 14 finalists to dazzle the judges and do their thing. It’s not going to be easy. Nor should it be. These guys are battling it out to represent the UK in the biggest cocktail-off in the world.
To secure a seat to New Delhi the winner will have to show off their skills in three disciplines. And just to make things interesting (and get the adrenalin really pumping) this year for the first time the competition will be spread over three venues. So for Theatre & Ritual, one team will head over to Purl where they will have ten minutes each to create a new ritual for drinking either Johnnie Walker Blue, Ron Zapaca XO or Grand Marnier Centenaire. Last year’s winner Erik Lorincz and Liz Finn, Global Innovation Director, Diageo will be watching over them and giving their scores.
Meanwhile, team two will be at Odd Firm of Sin HQ for the Classic Cocktail Challenge. Here Simon Difford and Justin Smyth, Ketel One European Ambassador will give marks on our bartender’s expertise at picking two classic cocktails at random (from a pool of ten supplied in advance), with five minutes to set up and only ten nerve wracking minutes to create the drinks and explain their history.
Then it’s the Shopping Challenge. This part of the competition is where each bartender will be given a crisp £20 note and five minutes in which to spend it shopping in Waitrose for ingredients to create an ingenious Tanqueray No. TEN or Ketel One aperitif-style cocktail. Andy Pearson and Herchelle Perez-Terrado, Spirits Buyer from Waitrose will be waiting for them at Mahiki where the competitors will have ten minutes to prepare and serve their drink.
After each session the teams will be whisked off to the next venue, to perform round robin style until they have completed all three tasks. When they all meet it will be for drinks, food and entertainment at Floridita later in the evening. But who are we kidding? This elite gathering isn’t just about fun. Here’s where we find out the two barmen who have notched up the most points during the day to go head-to-head in the final.
As well as the crack team of judges from earlier in the day, the votes from Tim Nichol, Master Distiller of Tanqueray, Spike Merchant, Global World Class Ambassador and us, The Cocktail Lovers will decide the winner. Like we said earlier, it’s not going to be easy but it sure is going to be interesting.
Keep up with all the news throughout the day by following us on Twitter and Facebook. And tune in to Joanne Good’s Late Show on BBC Radio London 94.9FM from 10pm to hear us and Erik Lorincz talking about the day’s events.