A London bartender will be heading to the French Caribbean island of Martinique next year after winning the UK final of the Ti’Punch Cup competition with Rhum Clément.
Ashera Goonewardene, manager of The Beachcomber in Bayswater, impressed the judges with her cocktail, Retour Chez Moi (pictured), made with Clément Canne Bleue, cane syrup, lychee liqueur and guava juice, twizzled together and garnished with grapefruit peel.
The competition, returning after two years, challenges bartenders to create a twist on a classic Ti’Punch, which is made up of rhum agricole, sugarcane syrup or raw sugar, and fresh lime.
Ashera (pictured below) has won a five-day trip to Martinique – the home of Rhum Clément and the Ti’Punch – for the global final of the competition which runs from March 12 to 16 next year.
With standards said to be extremely high, second place went to William Campbell from Alvinos in Newcastle upon Tyne while in third was Alex Taylor from Pennyroyal in Cardiff.
The other five finalists were Sam Boulton from The Bureau in Birmingham, Chris Tanner from The Vault in London, Zaneta Leszczynska from Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown in London, Rémy Cousquer from The River Hut in Surbiton in Surrey, and Ben Todd, based in London.
The UK final, held at ECC Chinatown, challenged each finalist to make four serves of their signature cocktail in 10 minutes and present it to the judges: Rhum Clément’s US brand ambassador Kiowa Bryan, Simon Difford of Difford’s Guide, Peter Holland from TheFloatingRumShack.com and Tiago Semblano, winner of the Ti’Punch Cup UK final in 2015.