Coco Lopez and El Dorado rum name cocktail challenge winner

Mark Main with judges

Mark Main of Mojo bar in Manchester has been named the overall winner in this year’s Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge.

The Glaswegian bartender won £1,000 after impressing judges with his two cocktails, El Coco Bru – a twist on a Piña Colada using Scotland’s Irn-Bru – and Peanut Butter Jelly Time. See below for his recipes.

He was one of 10 bartenders who took part in the final at The Liar’s Club in Manchester, organised by Bennett Opie, distributor of Coco Lopez cream of coconut, and El Dorado rums in association with Hamilton Beach blenders. It was compered by The Liar’s Club co-founder Lyndon Higginson.

The runner-up was Ami St Claire of Sohe in Newcastle upon Tyne who won a bottle of 21-year-old El Dorado rum.

Colette Abel of Be At One in Cardiff won a Hamilton Beach Fury blender for her Threena Colager, judged to be the best twisted Piña Colada twist in the competition.

Bartenders had to submit recipes for two cocktails: a twisted Piña Colada containing Coco Lopez and either three-year-old or five-year-old El Dorado Rum, blended in a Hamilton Beach blender; and a cocktail of their choice containing at least 20ml of Coco Lopez and three- or five-year-old El Dorado Rum.

Host and judge James Coston, cocktail specialist at Bennett Opie, said: “Mark brought his A-game on the day. The Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge is judged on the humour and imagination of the presentation as well as the drinks themselves, and he had us all in stitches.

“His El Coco Bru twisted Piña Colada was topped with Irn Bru – and served in the can – in tribute to his Scottish heritage, and his Peanut Butter Jelly Time cocktail was actually two drinks in one, presented as a throwback to his school packed lunches complete with crisps, a chocolate bar and a tangerine!”

Alongside James, the other judges were bartender Sam Fish, who works with El Dorado, and the 2014 Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge Champion, Marco Piroli of Lab bar in London. They are pictured above with Mark.

Sam said: “The finalists this year were all brilliant. The sheer creativity of their drinks and presentation makes this competition the most exciting and fun one to judge.

“The Piña Colada is one of the most difficult cocktails to master and we tasted some excellent ones on the day. It was great to see so many modern twists on a classic drink.”

Mark Main's El Coco Bru

El Coco Bru by Mark Main (pictured above)
50ml El Dorado 3-year-old rum
50ml Coco Lopez
12.5ml Monin Blue Curaçao liqueur
12.5ml Lime juice
2 pineapple chunks
Blend ingredients and top with Irn-Bru. Serve in an Irn-Bru can.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Mark Main (pictured below)
Peanut Butter:
37.5ml El Dorado 5 year old rum
37.5ml Coco Lopez
12.5ml Lime juice
25ml Half and half
3 bar spoons of peanut butter
37.5ml El Dorado 3 year old rum
12.5ml Lime juice
3 bar spoons of strawberry jam
Pinch of salt
Splash of Opies cherry juice
Blend both drinks separately and serve in a lunch box with everything your mum used to put in: three chocolate bars, a bag of crisps and a tangerine.

Mark Main's winning Peanut Butter Jelly Time

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