Cocktail aficionados will be licking their lips in anticipation as the search to find Manchester’s best cocktail of 2011 began last night.
Heats held at the Northern Quarter’s Socio Rehab, an event organised by The Liqourists in conjunction with Bacardi’s new rum product Oakheart, saw eight contestants reduced to four.
The rules were simple: Manchester-based professional bar tenders had to make Manchester-themed cocktails that incorporated Barcadi Oakheart.
While there were originally meant to be only three finalists, judges Jody Monteith and Tom Sneesby, who make up Manchester’s favourite drinks event organizers The Liquorists, said that the competition proved too difficult to choose only three from.
Tom told the crowd afterwards: “I truly mean this – the standard of cocktails tonight has been incredible. Every single one was brilliant, and so we had to pick four finalists instead of three!”
Cocktails included everything from egg yolks, plum purees, Boddington’s, Vimto and even Eccles cake mix. One drink even had Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’ CD as a garnish.
Rob Worsley, who works at Keko Moku, came out top of the heat with his cocktail named ‘The Marble Marvel’.
Rob, 25, said: “I’ve been very lucky and won a couple of competitions before, but the competition here tonight is tough. We’ll have to see what happens in the finals!”
The four finalists will make their cocktails in front of judges at Manchester Food and Drink Festival on 12 October.
Afterwards, Keko Moku are beginning their ten day beach party, for which two tons of sand will be brought in for.
“I plan to arrange a giant conga line from the festival to ‘the beach’, but how that may be arranged I’m not so sure,” said Rob. “We’ll have to see!”
The Hula Tiki Lounge’s Joe White came fourth with his cocktail ‘Birch’s Daiquiri’, named after the first commercial seller of Eccle’s cakes – since the local treat was part of his cocktail.
Joe said: “It would be great to make a drink that was ever-lasting, and create something that lives on – but obviously a lot of people want that!
“It’s been a great competition because we’re all good friends and everyone’s drinks were really, really good, but that’s not to say I don’t remain a bit competitive.”
Runner-up Susie Wong created a cocktail that included a Manchester favourite – Vimto.
The 36-year-old, who works at Sandanista and was the only female contestant, said: “I like to use ingredients that other people wouldn’t usually think of. I think savoury flavours also work well in cocktails. I recently created The Beetroot Martini!”
The four finalists are:
1st place: Rob Worsley, Keko Moku, ‘The Marble Marvel’
2nd place: Adam Binnersley, Home Sweet Home, ‘Home is where the heart is’
3rd place: Andy Louden, Socio Rehab, ‘D’ya want a Flake with that, love?’
4th place: Joe White, Hula Tiki Lounge, ‘Birch’s Daiquiri’
And we will be so good as to treat you to the cocktail recipes…
Joe White’s ‘Birch’s Daiquiri’
50ml Bacardi Oakheart rum, 25ml fresh lime, 2.5 bar spoons castor sugar, 2 bar spoons eccles cake mis, 10ml fig liquor
Adam Binnersley’s ‘Home is where the heart is’
50ml Bacardi Oakheart rum, 25ml lime, 18ml morello cherry & anise stock syrup, 25ml lapsang tea
Andy Louden’s ‘D’ya want a Flake with that, love?’
50ml beer reduction 1/2 spoon honey, 15ml cream, 75ml Bacardi Oakheart rum,1 egg yolk, 2.5ml ardbeg garnish
Pabsy’s 'A Plum Deal'
75ml Bacardi Oakheart rum, 25ml honemade plum puree, 15ml Vimto, 25ml Boddingtons (and a Definitely Maybe CD to garnish!)
Rob Worsley’s ‘The Marble Marvel’
50ml Bacardi Oakheart rum, 2 drop plum bitters, 4 drops lemon bitters, 25ml ale reduction, 15ml lillet blanc, 10ml benedictine
Susie Wong’s ‘The Great Manchester Rum’
50ml Bacardi Oakheart rum, 25ml port, 15ml Vimto, 10ml Fernet Branca, 25ml apple juice, 25ml pear juice, 2 drops of orange bitters