Harveys names winning bartender in sherry cocktail competition

Harveys Remix finalists

Robyn Wilkie (pictured right) of Mash London has been announced as winner of Harveys Remix – a competition for UK bartenders held in Jerez in southern Spain.

Her cocktail, Caballo Cartunjano, matched the competition’s goal to find a new recipe that would allow consumers to enjoy sherry in a new and exciting way.

It was made with Harveys Very Old Amontillado, lemon juice, homemade coconut orgeat and absinthe. It was named after the famous Carthusian horses that are from Andalusia where Jerez is.

The competition was held at the Harveys bodega where bartenders were challenged to present an original cocktail and create a sherry cocktail using two surprise ingredients in a mystery box round and tested through a blind tasting of seven Harveys sherries.

The judges include Amanda Humphrey, manager of the Mixxit training arm of Maxxium UK, the distributor of Harveys. She was joined by BarLifeUK’s Simon Webster and Harveys head winemaker Manuel J Valcárcel.

Amanda said: “We were impressed by all of the bartenders’ cocktails, but it was Robyn’s that was favoured amongst the group. A twist on a classic Piña Colada, her drink can be replicated in any bar and even at home, perfect for encouraging people to try sherry in a new way.

“Robyn also performed well in the blind taste test, which ultimately secured her position as winner of the Harvey Remix competition.”

Special guests included Beltran Domecq Williams, president of the Jerez Consejo Regulador which regulates the sherry denomination, and César Saldaña, general manager of the regulator, plus Evaristo Bavé, president of the Federation of Sherry Exporters.

Robyn, who won a £500 cash prize, was taken to Jerez by Maxxium UK with her fellow finalists, Joe Macbeth of Rub Smokehouse & Bar in Nottingham and Georgia Billing of Looking Glass Cocktail Club in London who are also pictured above.

They were immersed in a unique brand and cultural experience, hosted by Harveys brand ambassador Maria Eugenia Herrera. They visited Harveys’ stunning vineyards and bodegas where they had the rare opportunity to sign a Harveys barrel – something normally reserved for visiting members of the Spanish royal family and celebrities.

They also experienced a tutored sherry tasting led by Harveys’ Manuel J Valcárcel and toured the historic and beautiful cities of Jerez and Seville. Highlights included watching a traditional flamenco performance, tasting local fine cuisine and attending the unique horse show, How the Andalusian Horses Dance, performed by the Fundacion Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Ecuestre.

Janice McIntosh, Maxxium UK’s marketing controller for Harveys, said: “Our first bartender competition at the Harveys bodega was a huge success. It gave us the opportunity to showcase the Harveys home to our leading bartenders and introduce industry officials to the high calibre of sherry cocktails now available in the UK.

“The three finalists received an opportunity like no other. They were fully immersed in the culture of Jerez and also welcomed into the heart of Harveys. We congratulate Robyn for winning the Harveys Remix competition and are excited to see how bartenders are bringing this fortified wine to life in delicious and approachable cocktails.”

Caballo Cartujano by Robyn Wilkie
50ml Harveys Amontillado VORS
15ml Lemon juice
15ml Coconut orgeat
2 dashes Absinthe
Shake and serve straight up. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel and discarded lemon zest for aroma.

Robyn Wilkie

Pictures by Simon Webster of BarlifeUK.

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