Call for entries for Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge

Jonathan Leathley James Coston and William OpieBartenders and mixologists are being challenged to create rum cocktails including a Piña Colada in this year’s Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge.

A prize of £1,000 is on offer for the winner of the competition which is being run by Bennett Opie, distributor of cream of coconut Coco Lopez with blender brand Hamilton Beach and El Dorado Rum.

Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges to compete at The Liar’s Club in Manchester on May 1.

Opie’s cocktail expert James Coston said: “Competitors will need to submit two drinks. One must be a Piña Colada containing Coco Lopez and either three-year-old or five-year-old El Dorado Rum. It must be blended with a Hamilton Beach Tempest, which will be provided.

“The other can be a cocktail of their choice, though it must contain at least 20ml Coco Lopez, and again the three or five-year-old El Dorado Rum. The use of Bennett Opie cocktail cherries for garnish is recommended!

“The Coco Lopez Cocktail Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for bartenders to demonstrate their all-round skills, imagination and wit. We are looking forward to some exciting creations.”

The best cocktail in the top 10 wins its creator the £1,000 prize and a bottle of 21-year-old El Dorado Rum. The creator of the best Piña Colada wins a Hamilton Beach Tempest blender.

Entrants should email James at by midnight on Sunday, April 14 with the following information:

  • Name of competitor
  • Name and location of bar
  • Email address
  • Contact phone number
  • Ingredients in ml
  • Vessel
  • Garnish
  • Method (of second drink)
  • Cocktail names

The top 10 entrants will be informed on April 21 and invited to the May 1 final.

Last year’s winner was Jonathan Leathley from Socio Rehab in Manchester who created a Coconut Stout, consisting of 35ml of Appleton V/X rum, 15ml of Bärenjäger honey liqueur, 50ml of mineral water, 50ml of Anchor Porter, 50ml of pressed apple juice, a pinch of sea salt and 25ml of Coco Lopez.

Jonathan is picture above, centre, with James (left) and Bennett Opie managing director William Opie.

Coco Lopez is the only cream of coconut produced by hand, creating a rich, natural flavour, using coconuts harvested in the Dominican Republic. The cream is then removed by hand and blended with natural cane sugar. Unlike other products, no heat is used in the process.

Legend has it that Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut was created in the 1950s by Don Ramon Lopez Irizarry, sparking the success of the Piña Colada cocktail.

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