A bartender from Aberdeen was declared champion in a competition for Flor de Caña rum, seeking innovative cocktails taking inspiration from its Nicaraguan home.
Ryan Rhodes (pictured) from Dusk created the Lava Flava, inspired by the American artist Scott Albrecht and his “vibrant, fun and playful” interpretations of Nicaragua which decorated the side of the glass.
His cocktail combined Flor de Caña 7 Year Old with melon liqueur, lemon juice, cashew milk, Demerara sugar and a coffee bean orgeat, based on Nicaragua’s reputation for producing high-quality coffee.
Ryan’s prize in the Rum Frontiers competition is a six-day adventure in Nicaragua this September, including sand-boarding on the active Cerro Negro Volcano before spending the night in the historic city of Leon.
He will then return to Managua for an exclusive tour of the Flor de Caña distillery ahead of competing in the worldwide final of the Rum Frontiers competition.
The remainder of the trip will be packed full of excursions including a visit to the Masaya Volcano, Masaya Artisan Market and Apoyo Lagoon. There will also be a city tour of Granada along with a trip to a private island.
Pictured with Ryan below, the three other bartenders to reach the grand final were Alex Palumbo from Sygn in Edinburgh, Giorgios Terzakis from The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh and Jamie Buchan from Kelvingrove Café in Glasgow.
The other finalists were Adrian Forde-Beggs from Orchid in Aberdeen, Andrew Davidson from Distill in Glasgow, Art Farmer from Scran and Scallie in Edinburgh, Elias Olaria from Bos’n in Aberdeen, Jamie Moran from The Finnieston in Glasgow, Liam Grogan from Drugstore Social in Glasgow and Milo Smith from 99 Bar in Aberdeen.
Competitors were challenged to create innovative cocktails inspired by Nicaragua. They were fashioned around many aspects of Nicaraguan culture, including its coffee beans, the vibrant art that fills the streets, the volcano next to Flor de Caña’s distillery and the fact that the country is run on 58% clean, renewable energy.
The UK final, held at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow, was judged by Daryl Haldane, head of brand experience for the rum’s distributor Whyte & Mackay, along with bartender Tristan Stephenson from Fluid Movement, Andy Gemmell from consultancy The Drink Cabinet and Marc Catalan, area manager for Flor de Caña.
Jonathan Gillbanks, UK sales director for the on-trade and specialists at Whyte & Mackay, said: “Rum Frontiers was a fantastic event. We witnessed some of the most exciting bartenders from the UK come together to learn and create with Flor de Caña premium rum. The creations from the competitors were truly outstanding.”