Simone Rossi from Aqua London will be heading to the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans after winning the UK final of Disaronno Mixing Star.
Simone won the competition with his cocktail The Innkeeper which was praised for its beautiful flavour combinations, mixing Disaronno with sherry, bergamot juice and Fernet Branca, and the way in which it was presented. See below for his recipe.
The final, held at the Nightjar in London, was judged by Disaronno brand ambassador Rod Eslamieh, Simone Caporale of the Langham’s Artesian bar in London, Gary Sharpen of The Cocktail Lovers and 2014 Mixing Star finalist Adrian Gomes of The Tippling House in Aberdeen.
The judges based their scores on taste, technique, performance, presentation and knowledge of Disaronno. The prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of the Cocktail which takes place in July.
Rod said: “From the moment Simone stepped behind the bar, he totally engaged the audience and judges with his positive energy. The way he expressed the journey of his recipe was also inspiring and the execution of the drink really thought through.
“These factors, combined with his wonderful-tasting cocktail which beautifully complemented Disaronno, made Simone the front runner and a worthy winner. I look forward to spending time with him in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail and having fun trialling some more great drinks.”
Second place went to James Bowker of The Edgbaston boutique hotel and cocktail bars in Birmingham who won a night for two at the Langham hotel including dinner and drinks in Artesian bar.
The other finalists were William Wilson of Palm Sugar Lounge in Leeds, Joe Macbeth of Rub Smokehouse & Bar in Nottingham, Joe Nelson of Amicus Apple in Aberdeen, Stephen Rutherford of Orchid in Aberdeen, Ehren Khoo-Steel of The Blind Pig on Jersey, Giacomo Di Matteo of The Groucho Club in London, Federico Pavan of Salvatore at Playboy in London, and Federico Gisbert Johnson of Hawksmoor Guildhall in London.
Simone is a bartender at Aqua London, the restaurants and bar at Oxford Circus, and previously worked at Quo Vadis in Soho, London.
Rod added: “We had an extremely impressive competition on our hands this year and it wasn’t an easy decision for the judges. The finalists showcased some wonderful examples of creative cocktail making and we hope the competition inspires other bartenders to experiment with Disaronno and in turn, drive consumer interest in the category.”
This was the fifth year in which Disaronno has held its Mixing Star competition. This year witnessed the largest number of entries yet, attracting nearly 200 from around the UK.
The Innkeeper by Simone Rossi
60ml Disaronno Originale
30ml Bergamot juice
25ml Manzanilla dry sherry
5ml Fernet Branca
Stir and serve over crushed ice, with dry fruit and Disaronno-infused candy floss.
Pictured: Ian Taylor, Rod Eslamieh, Simone Rossi, Gary Sharpen and Adrian Gomes.