UK bartender to compete in Tio Pepe cocktail final in Jerez

Tio Pepe Cameron Waeska

A cocktail combining en rama sherry with blood orange, saffron and an Italian aperitif helped a bartender win a competition with Tio Pepe.

Cameron Moncaster (pictured) from Waeska Bar at The Mandrake Hotel in London was crowned UK winner in this year’s Tio Pepe Challenge, earning him a place in the global final in Jerez in southern Spain.

At the UK final this month at Hush Mayfair in London, finalists were tested on both the theory and practice around sherry, including the use of the traditional venencia – the long ladle used for drawing sherry out of barrels – as well as challenged to create an original sherry cocktail.

For his cocktail, Cameron used the 2017 vintage of Tio Pepe Fino En Rama, which is drawn from the cask when live yeast is at its highest and bottled without fining, giving it a naturally cloudy appearance.

He combined this with his own blood orange sherbet, saffron, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto and sparkling water and served it over a block of ice in a small wine glass, garnished with fresh mint in a mini venencia plus blood orange zest.

The cocktail, called The Sea, Spice, Citrus & Soil, pays homage to the three towns that make up the sherry triangle in southern Spain: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, El Puerto de Santa María and Jerez de la Frontera. See below for the recipe.

The UK final was judged by Waeska’s bar manager Walter Pintus, bartender Stuart Hudson of consultancy Forgotten Hospitality and bartender Boris Ivan, international spirits ambassador for Tio Pepe’s owner, González Byass.

Boris said: “This year’s competition was of an extremely high standard and it was very difficult to choose a winner as all the participants demonstrated their passion for Tio Pepe.

“However, Cameron’s knowledge of the González Byass Sherry range, his venencia technique and exceptional cocktail presentation made him stand out as the UK winner.”

Cameron will represent the UK in the international grand final in Jerez – the home of sherry – during the world-famous Feria de Jerez that runs from May 5 to 12. He will face the winners from Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, China, the USA, Germany, Spain, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Italy.

The annual cocktail competition, which takes place in 14 countries and sees some 400 entries across the globe, is organised by González Byass.

The other UK finalists, drawn from entries across the UK, were Sam Midgley from Bar 44 in Cardiff and nine from London bars: Sebastian Kasyna from The Ivy City Garden, Flavio Prospero from Galvin at Windows, Christian Teducci from China Tang, Gábor Molnár from Quaglino’s, Karel Varga from Mr Fogg’s Residence, Gianluca Pavanello from Swift, Eleanor Holcroft from Sack Bar, Dario Arranz from Oblix, and Chris Calvert from Aviator at Hush.

Sea, Spice, Citrus & Soil by Cameron Moncaster
50ml Tio Pepe Fino En Rama 2017
30ml Blood orange sherbet
5ml Saffron
2.5ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
60ml Sparkling water
Place ingredients in a shaker, except the water, and throw 5 times to aerate cocktail. Strain over block ice in a small wine glass and add the water. Garnish with fresh mint in a small venencia and blood orange zest.

Tio Pepe Sea, Spice, Citrus & Soil

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