Ritz bartender wins Luxardo maraschino challenge

damiano madeddu luxardoDamiano Madeddu (pictured) from the Rivoli Bar at The Ritz hotel in London has been announced as winner of the annual cocktail competition for Luxardo’s maraschino liqueurs.

He beat 11 other leading bartenders from around the UK at the final of the 2013 Luxardo Masters of Maraschino competition held at Boutique Bar Show last month in association with the UK Bartenders Guild.

Damiano won with his inventive cocktail, Luxardo Punch, which was judged on taste, presentation, appearance, product knowledge, aroma and the name.

Second place went to Benji Purslow of Archer Street in Soho, London with a cocktail called Rye Is There Frozen Cherries in the Za’jar?

Third place went to Nicholas Quattroville of Blind Pig at Social Eating House in Soho, with a cocktail called Flippin’ Ridiculous. See below for the top three winning recipes.

Damiano’s prize is a visit to the picturesque home of Luxardo near Venice in Italy, hosted by Matteo Luxardo and the Luxardo family, plus a rare vintage 1960s bottle of Luxardo Maraschino.

Ingredients in cocktail entries this year included maraschino-sugar coated beetroot, floral dushi buttons, tawny port and sauternes, while popular spirit bases were tequila and grappa.

Several also made use of all three Luxardo cherry products: Maraschino Liqueur, Maraschino cocktail cherries and the new Sangue Morlacco liqueur, made with fermented juice from marasca cherries.

Judges included Matteo Luxardo, UKBG London chairman Mike Sweetman and Tim Robinson of Twist London, who won the regional heat of Master of Maraschino in 2012 in Glasgow.

Matteo, who is export manager for Luxardo, said: “The Luxardo Masters of Maraschino competition is one of our most exciting international highlights. I wouldn’t miss coming to London to taste such incredibly clever creations.

“The bartender finalists are extremely talented and showed their experience in having mastered the classics, combined with a quest for adventurous new flavours.

“Some of these new drinks may become as well as known the Aviation and Martinez, whilst others will long be remembered for their daring innovation, and pushing the boundaries of using Luxardo Maraschino.”

Luxardo Punch by Damiano Madeddu

30ml Zacapa 23 Year Old rum
15ml Luxardo Maraschino
10ml Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur
5ml Lemon juice
10ml Passion fruit syrup
30ml Pineapple juice
15ml Champagne

Shake all except the champagne. Serve in a punch cup. Garnish with jelly caviar of passion fruit, pineapple and cherry.

Rye Is There Frozen Cherries in the Za’jar? by Benji Purslow

35ml Rye whiskey
15ml Luxado Maraschino
25ml Lemon juice
50ml Pineapple juice
Homemade habenero and ghost chilli bitters
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino cherry jam
Frozen Luxardo cherries as ice cubes

Shake and strain into maraschino jar. Garnish with three pineapple leaves and an ice basket containing three maraschino cherries and a chilli.

Flippin’ Ridiculous by Nicholas Quattroville

30ml Luxardo Maraschino
20ml Golden ale
20ml Red wine
1ml Vanilla bitters
2ml Allspice
1 egg
1 barspoon Nutella

Garnish with three Luxardo Maraschino cherries, dusted in cocoa powder.

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