Leeds bartender wins UK leg of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge

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A bartender from Leeds is to compete in the international final of Angostura’s Global Cocktail Challenge in Trinidad after being declared UK winner.

Thomas Gedney-Higham (pictured), bar manager of Bibis Italianissimo in Leeds, was one of nine bartenders who went head to head at TT Liquor bar in London to present their own creations made with Angostura rum and bitters.

He won the closely-fought UK leg with a drink inspired by the heart and soul of Trinidad & Tobago – the home of Angostura. His cocktail, J’ouvert, used a combination of ingredients and colours to represent the coming together of classes of society during carnival time. All of the fruits and herbs included, such as pineapples and coconuts, are grown natively in Trinidad & Tobago.

He also impressed judges in the round challenging them to create a recipe using Amaro di Angostura. His drink, combining the amaro with a ginger and beetroot shrub and hazelnut liqueur, was accompanied by a mix of nuts soaked in Angostura rum and coated with an Angostura caramel glaze.

Thomas will go on to represent the UK at the 2018 Global Cocktail Challenge in Trinidad next February, competing against the world’s finest bartenders for a chance to win a grand prize of US$10,000 – nearly £8,000 – plus a two-year contract as Angostura global brand ambassador.

Tom Kirk of DOC Prosecco Bar in Leeds was in second place while Lulu Fendi of The American Bar at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perth and Kinross took third place.

The other UK finalists were Ciarán Russell of The Voyage of Buck in Edinburgh, Callum Neilly of The Finnieston in Glasgow, Karl Smith of Mark’s Bar at Hix Soho in London, Kevin Price Houghton of The Blind Pig in Soho in London, Luca Tosi of Whiskey Ginger at London Bridge, and Niccoló Pradella of Graphic in Soho, London.

Angostura’s CEO Genevieve Jodhan said: “The Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge aims to discover and encourage new and creative uses of the House of Angostura portfolio by gifted bartenders around the world. Our goal is to collate a suite of inventive modern classics that showcase Angostura’s unique brands.”

J’ouvert by Thomas Gedney-Higham
35ml Angostura 1919 rum
25ml Banana falernum (made with Angostura White Rum)
15ml Coconut cream
6 dashes of Angostura Bitters
25ml Salted pineapple juice
5ml Fresh lime juice
Awaiting method.

Amaro di Angostura cocktail by Thomas Gedney-Higham
40ml Amaro di Angostura
30ml Ginger and beetroot shrub
12.5ml Hazelnut liqueur
3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Awaiting method.

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