Bénédictine names Cocktail Challenge southern winner

Benedictine Swanand Korgaonka cocktailBénédictine has crowned Swanand Korgaonka from Simpsons in The Strand in London as the winner of the southern heat of its 2013 Cocktail Challenge.

He faced nine other bartenders in the first heat of the challenge at Shaker & Company bar in London to win an all-expenses-paid trip to France in October.

All 10 mixologists were required to create a new cocktail containing at least 35ml of Bénédictine which was marked on taste, aroma and presentation. The bartenders were also judged on their knowledge of the liqueur and the creativity and presentation of their cocktail.

Swanand impressed the judges with his well-balanced recipe which he named The 19th Century Cocktail. It used a mix of Bénédictine, Curious Brew lager, peach bitters, muddled cucumber, egg white, lemon juice and sugar syrup. It was topped off with a cucumber garnish and a spray of elderflower.

Swanand said: “I wanted to be as creative as possible and really challenge myself, so to be named the winner is a great achievement. The trip in October sounds incredible and I can’t wait to learn more about Bénédictine by visiting its hometown of Fécamp.”

The prize includes not only a visit to the liqueur’s birthplace in Fécamp in Normandy but a Cocktail Safari around the best bars in Paris.

Swanand will be joined on the trip by three other regional winners from the Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow heats. The next heats will be at Ginger’s Bar at Purnell’s Bistro in Birmingham on September 16, Epernay in Manchester on September 23 and Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn in Glasgow on September 24.

Bénédictine brand manager Paul Curry said: “Once again, the competition has been fantastic and the quality of both bartenders and cocktails has been exceptional. The southern heat is always a strong competition and, with these 10 entries, the standard was especially high.

“We loved Swanand’s creative twist of mixing Bénédictine with Curious Brew, egg white and muddled cucumber to create the perfect summer drink. His recipe was really imaginative and demonstrated the versatility of Bénédictine.”

This year’s Cocktail Challenge is being run in partnership with leading bartending school Shaker.

Picture: Paul Curry and Swanand Korgaonka.

benedictine Paul Curry Swanand Korgaonka

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