Amber Blood from London Cocktail Club in east London has won a competition with Britvic that called for bartenders to create a twist on a classic Cuba Libre using Pepsi Max.
To create the twist, she used Pepsi Max with Bacardi Carta Negra rum, Cherry Heering liqueur, lime juice, vanilla, and chocolate bitters for a drink called She’s My Cherry.
All four finalists in the UK competition were also challenged to create an original cocktail using at least one product from the Britvic range.
Amber (pictured) was inspired by a Dark ‘n’ Stormy to create the Ginger Ninja containing Britvic Ginger Ale, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Finlandia Vodka, Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum and lemon juice.
Their creations were judged by a panel of industry experts based on appearance, aroma and taste. Her prize is an all-expenses-paid trip for two to music and dance festival Ibiza Rocks in 2018.
The final was held in The Max Lounge in The Cocktail Village at Old Spitafields Market as part of London Cocktail Week, run in association with BarLifeUK.
The other three competitors were Jack Docherty from Alston Bar & Beef in Glasgow, Eloise Stevenson from Lost Property in Nottingham and Salvatore Cipolla from BYOC London.
Amber, who is 20 and has been bartending for only seven months, said: “I took my inspiration for She’s My Cherry from the flavour profile of Pepsi Max, choosing ingredients which I knew would complement it: chocolate, cherry and cola work well together and I’m delighted that the judges agreed.
“Ginger Ninja was developed when I was feeling a bit poorly – the combination of ginger and lemon is a perfect pick-me-up and it tastes fantastic.”
Pepsi brand manager Sarah De La Mare described the calibre of cocktails as “outstanding”, adding: “It was hard to choose between them, but all judges were in absolute agreement that both Amber’s Cuba Libre twist and her Ginger Ninja cocktail were worthy of winning.
“Both were very simple recipes allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves and Amber presented very confidently. We hope she enjoys the all-expenses trip to Ibiza Rocks, and picks up some inspiration while she is there to continue making such fabulous cocktails.”
She’s My Cherry by Amber Blood
25ml Bacardi Carta Negra rum
25ml Cherry Heering
25ml Lime juice
10ml Vanilla sugar syrup (1:1)
100ml Pepsi Max
3ml Chocolate bitters
Built in a highball with cubed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and a black and white paper straw.
25ml Britvic Ginger Ale + 25ml simple syrup (boiled to a reduction)
22.5ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
22.5ml Finlandia Vodka
5ml-10ml Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
20ml Lemon juice
Top with Britvic Ginger Ale
Build in a highball. Garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.
Pictured below: Salvatore Cipola, Jack Docherty, Eloise Stevenson and Amber Blood