Fine cocktails at TT-World Class final - EntornoInteligente

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Here in Trinidad, during the final leg of the TT-World Class Bartender of the Year Competition that was held at Paprika in Newtown last week Tuesday, some fine cocktails were prepared by the six finalists – Karlina Permell, Akiel Alexander, Justin Ballantyne, Tyrone Benjamin, Keshin Fraser and Chad Lee Loy.

All six first competed in the Multi Sensorial Challenge during which they had to develop a cocktail that involves all senses, and present them to the judges headed by Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Arturo Savage. The other judges were local Diageo mixologist Stephon Scott and Ramona Brahim of AS Bryden, agent for Diageo’s finest collection of Reserve Brands that includes Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whiskies, Cîroc Vodka, Ketel One Vodka, Zacapa Rum, Don Julio Tequila, and Tanqueray No Ten Gin.

Permell’s “Walker’s Diadem” consisted of Johnnie Walker Blue (JWB), orange juice, fresh agave syrup infused with JWB, and tea. To cleanse the judges palates she served them sparkling water, after which she placed black ice in other glasses and then poured the tea into them. The judges loved it.Next up was Alexander’s “Johnnie Jolly Berry”, for which he used fresh strawberries and blueberries, white sugar, Johnnie Walker Gold, lime, pomegranate liquor, cranberry juice and topped with mint leaves. At the end of the competition it was voted “Cocktail of the Day”.

Ballantyne’s “The Voyage To London” was a favourite of the media present. For his cocktail he used Cinzano white, bitters, lemon juice, St German Liquor, JWB and served it with a ginger garnish and another with a rosemary garnish.

Benjamin brought out a pannist to play “Dingolay” and a “Trini Woman” to enhance his production of “Johnnie’s First Carnival” cocktail.

He mixed sorrel reduction infused with fresh pomegranate, fig infused with vinegar, grilled Julie Mango, smoked duck fat wash, Johnnie Walker Gold, chocolate bitters, and garnished it with grilled mango and smoked rosemary.

Fraser opted to produce “Bell of the Ball”, using soursop, chocolate, vanilla beans, dark chocolate, vanilla ice cream, Bevaca, simple syrup infused with spice and JWB, while Lee Loy’s “Royal Tea Time” comprised Strong Oolong Tea, Campari, JWB, orange and ginger, and served in a bamboo cup with ice, garnished with orange peel as incense filled the air.

Contestants were also judged on their knowledge of the Diageo brands which they used for their cocktails.

Four of them were selected to move on to the Mystery Market Challenge, where the judges chose ginger and a smoker as the mystery ingredients.

First in this round was Permell again, and this time she prepared “Frida Artistica” with Don Julio Blanco, cucumber, ginger, pepper jelly, cardamon, lemon and sugar. Another winner.

Alexander followed with “Peanut Butter & Jelly”. For this cocktail he mixed Ron Zacapa 23, strawberry jelly, Campari and ginger. He smoked ginger into the glass before pouring the cocktail, then garnished it with crushed peanuts.

Benjamin’s “Zacapa Nightcap” was another favourite of the media. This cocktail comprised Ron Zacapa 23, pomegranate syrup, raspberries and ginger, garnished with lemon and rosemary in a smoked glass.

“Chad’s Smokey Ginger Collins” by Lee Loy was another winner. For this he used ginger, simple syrup, Absinthe, lemon juice, Tanqueray 10, sparkling water, and garnished it with orange peel. This cocktail was served in a bay leaf smoked glass.

Only two were picked for the “Cocktails Against the Clock” challenge, where contestants had eight minutes to prepare six cocktails, using any of the Diageo Reserve Brands, Classics or Signature.

A somewhat nervous Lee Loy managed to finish four cocktails, “French 75”, “Manhattan”, “Old Fashion” and “Rob Roy”, but a confident Permell, who prepared “Bloody Mary”, “Zacapa Nothing”, “Don’s Soiree”, “Johnnie’s Treasure” and “Caiproska”, took the 2014 title of Bartender of the Year, and won the right to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the global competition next month.

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