Four bartenders have won places in the UK final of the UK Bartenders Guild National Cocktail Challenge where the winner will compete at global level in Tokyo.
Plamen Pitropski from Tom at 101 bar and restaurant in Stockton Heath in Warrington took the top place in the northern heat of the competition, sponsored by liqueur producer De Kuyper.
Contenders were challenged to make a twist on a classic Crusta, featuring at least 20ml from the De Kuyper liqueur range. Each drink had to be presented and served to four people within seven minutes, and was judged on appearance, aroma and taste.
Plamen impressed judges with Poppers – a delicate mix of ingredients, incorporating De Kuyper Lemongrass, cherry brandy, lemon-flavoured vodka and Angostura Bitters, with a popping candy rim.
Joining him at the UK final will be runners-up Steven Savill from Tom at 101 and Les Fry from Voodoo Café and Bar in Darlington as well as Jake Beaverstock from Voodoo Café who impressed judges with his excellent technical ability.
The UK final takes place in London in October where the overall champion will win an all-expenses-paid five-day trip to Tokyo to represent the UK in the 2016 International Bartenders Association World Final.
John Farrell, northern chairman of the UKBG, said: “Once again, the northern heat has been brilliant, with some really top-quality cocktails produced. Plamen showed a high level of professionalism and we were delighted to announce him as the winner.”
Paul Curry, De Kuyper brand manager, added: “The UKBG National Cocktail Challenge always proves to be an exceptional contest, and the standard in this first heat is definitely a sign of great things to come. It’s an absolute pleasure to be involved this year, and we look forward to sponsoring all upcoming heats as well as the competition’s London final in October.
“De Kuyper’s range of liqueurs make fantastic cocktail ingredients, and as such we were expecting some really exciting cocktails – we weren’t disappointed. Congratulations to Plamen for a great cocktail recipe and best of luck to him going forward in the competition.”