Burger wins Coco Lopez challenge

Jake Burger Coco LopezLeading bartender Jake Burger (pictured) of The Portobello Star in Notting Hill, west London, has won £1,000 and a 21-year-old El Dorado Rum after being named overall winner in this year’s Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge.

It also saw Olly Foster of The Liars Club win a Hamilton Beach blender for his Avo Colada, judged as the best Piña Colada on the day.

The contest was held at The Liar’s Club in Manchester and organised by UK distributors Bennett Opie in association with Hamilton Beach and El Dorado Rum.

Host James Coston, Coco Lopez brand ambassador, said: “It was a fantastic event, attended by more than 100 people who saw the 10 contestants produce some fabulous drinks. The atmosphere was electric and there were some ingenious presentations, such as Brodie Meah serving his cocktails from the back of an ice cream van, Chris Mosey aided by a glamorous assistant, and JJ Goodman’s drinks presentation which was based on TV’s Saved By The Bell.”

Contestants submitted two drinks. One had to be a Piña Colada containing Coco Lopez and either three-year-old or five-year-old El Dorado Rum, and needed to be blended with a Hamilton Beach Tempest. The other was a cocktail of their choice, though it had to contain at least 20ml Coco Lopez and, again, the three or five-year-old El Dorado Rum.

Jake’s Portobello Star Piña Colada – using Coco Lopez and garnished with an Opie’s cherry – won him the competition while his GuerillaDistillahPinaColadaGoHarderOrGoHomeMintJulep was described by James as “a delicious mouthful in both senses of the word”.

The GuerillaDistillahPinaColadaGoHarderOrGoHomeMintJulep was made by distilling Coco Lopez, pineapple, powdered coconut milk, pineapple and coconut juice drink, coconut water, desiccated coconut, candied coconut, Tesco dark rum and El Dorado 3 Year Old. The resulting spirit is turned into a Julep by aromatising a Coco Lopez can with fresh mint, sweetening with Monin Cane Syrup and packing the drink with crushed ice, garnished with mint, a pineapple wedge and pineapple spears and finally a dusting of powdered sugar.

James added: “The Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge is a wonderful chance for mixologists to demonstrate their imagination and skills, both in the ingredients they use and the drink’s presentation. What’s more, it’s a lot of fun.”

Portobello Star Piña Colada by Jake Burger

25ml El Dorado 3 Year Old Rum
25ml Myers’s Rum
8 cubes of fresh pineapple
1 squirt of Coco Lopez
1 large scoop of cubed ice

Blended and served in a paper cup with a straw and garnished with an Opie’s cherry.

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