Italy inspires UK bartenders at Luxardo grand final

phoenix from flame

David Hamilton Boyd won the first prize of £3,000 in the UK final of a cocktail competition for Luxardo liqueurs held in Padua in northern Italy.

He created a drink called Phoenix from the Flame (pictured), combining Luxardo Sangue Morlacco liqueur and Luxardo Chilli & Spices sambuca with homemade cherry wood-smoked Luxardo Grappa, lemon juice and cherry purée and a pinch of cherry and birch ash. It was presented on a heap of lava and finished with dry ice cherry smoke.

As well as bartending, David (pictured below) runs organic catering and cocktail design company Organic Spirit.

As well as mixing their own original Italian-inspired entry, the three UK finalists were challenged to spend no more than 20 euros on fresh ingredients from Padua’s open-air markets for an original creation.

The other bartenders in the grand final were Matthew Soares of Cloud 23 in Manchester and Nathan Sorby of Cosy Club in Cardiff.

Matthew made the Zara Fizz, mixing Luxardo Maraschino, simple syrup, pineapple juice, a lemon wedge, a lime wedge, an orange slice and champagne, while Nathan Sorby created Summer in Italia, combining Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, gin, basil leaves, Amalfi lemon juice and cracked black. See below for recipes.

Judges at the grand final included Matteo Luxardo of Luxardo and bartender Elliot Ball of the Cocktail Trading Company, a former winner of the Luxardo Masters of Maraschino competition. They were joined by Craig Chapman, Luxardo marketing manager at UK distributor Cellar Trends, and “G” Franklin, Luxardo UK brand ambassador.

Over 120 entries were received in the first year of the new Luxardo Campione competition, with the grand final held in the town where Luxardo liqueurs are made. It also included a high-spirited shake-off by the UK finalists against a group of Italian finalists.

The competition is the highlight of Luxardo’s new Social Shake campaign launched by Cellar Trends. Craig said: “It has been an adventurous and creative summer, and we have seen some very inspired and skilled entries coming from all over the UK.

“Our new online platform shares experiences, techniques, artistry and the sheer thrills of cocktail creation from professional bartenders.

“Entrants had to use a liqueur product from the Luxardo range – either from its cherry portfolio embracing Maraschino, Sangue Morlacco, classics such as Limoncello, or from the sambuca range.”

Heats during the summer took place in Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and London, with 11 bartenders competing in the London semi-final. They used ingredients as diverse as pisco, grappa, bergamot, homemade almond and orange milk, moscato and spice infusions, chocolate sauce, and vermouth-infused ice cubes.

Phoenix from the Flame by David Hamilton Boyd (earlier recipe)

25ml Luxardo Sangue Morlacco
12.5ml Luxardo Chilli and Spices
25ml Home cherry-wood-smoked vodka
12.5ml bergamot juice
50ml Cherry juice
1 pinch Cherry and birch ash

Shake and double-strain all ingredients into a volcano-inspired cup. Serve on a heap of lava, finished with dry ice cherry smoke.

Zara Fizz by Matthew Soares

35ml Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1 Lemon wedge
1 Lime wedge
1 Orange slice
5ml Simple syrup
25ml Eager pineapple juice

Muddle the lemon, lime and orange and add the Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, syrup and juice. Shake and fine-strain into a champagne flute and top up with champagne. Garnish with a refined orange zest and a cherry.

A Summer in Italia by Nathan Sorby

20ml Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
20ml Bitter Italian aperitif
20ml Mediterranean-infused gin
6 Basil leaves
20ml Fresh Amalfi lemon juice
10ml Sugar syrup
Cracked black pepper

Muddle the fresh basil leaves with the sugar and a pinch of black pepper in the base of a Spritz goblet, Add the spirits and the fresh lemon juice and fill with crushed ice and churn together. Cap with crushed ice. Garnish with basil leaves, lemon wedge, black pepper and two straws. Serve with fresh tomato, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur-infused balsamic vinegar and fresh herb bruschettas.

David Hamilton Boyd, LuxardoCampione1

Previous South Bank bar marks new division bell with cocktails
Next Three 'most promising' finalists announced for UK Bacardi Legacy