Emporia Brands and Chairman’s Reserve rum have named London-based Mexican bar and restaurant Café Pacifico winner of the 2018 UK Mai Tai challenge.
During July and August, venues from across the UK were tasked to promote their twist on the classic Mai Tai cocktail, using two expressions of Chairman’s Reserve rum.
Earning their way to the UK final, which took place on 1 October, were last year’s winners Milk Bar from Reading, The Twisted Lemon from Brighton, Edinburgh’s Hoot the Redeemer, 33 Cank Street from Leicester and lastly Café Pacifico from London.
The five respective bars were invited down to London pop-up The Magic Roundabout to recreate their Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai cocktail to the public.
With a secret panel of judges on hand to test out each cocktail and over 200 consumers, Café Pacifico was announced the winner with the team’s Mi Tia creation.
Café Pacifico will now join finalists from the USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland and France in Saint Lucia for the International Final, a competition in which last year’s UK winners, Milk Bar, came 2nd.
Jack Rackham of Emporia Brands said: “Each year the bars participating in the Mai Tai Challenge have taken the quality of the drinks and the way in which they have activated their serves in venue up a level.
“On behalf of Emporia and Chairman’s Reserve, we would like to thank each bar that participated and look forward to another exciting challenge next year.”
Julian de Féral, drinks director at Gorgeous Group, added: “I feel confident that Café Pacifico’s was the best Mai Tai on the night.
“Not only was Café Pacifico’s delightfully balanced and recognisable, the tartness of the passion fruit and sweetness of the tepache worked wonderfully together, adding the classic passion fruit/pineapple tropical fruit combo that gave depth to the drink but wasn’t overbearing.
“The spicy rim really finished things off nicely – again not being obtrusive to the drink but a welcome spicy tingle at the end that had you going back for more. Simply put: it was delicious.”
Café Pacifico’s Mi Tia recipe
25ml Chairman’s Reserve Original
25ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
30ml Lime juice
10ml Orange liqueur
20ml Homemade Tepache (traditional Mexican pineapple fermented syrup)
Fresh passion fruit
Garnish with a mint stem, 1/4 fresh passion fruit and a vessel of 10ml of Chairman’s Reserve Original