Winner announced in Brighton mix-off

Robb Collins (pictured), bar manager at the Waterhouse Bar at the Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel, has won the annual Brighton Mix Off Competition to determine the best bartender in Brighton and Hove.

Robb won after being told to create a cocktail using Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, the new bourbon aged for six years and bottled at 45 per cent ABV. Each of the four finalists was assigned their own bar and specific product from the sponsors.

Taking place over an hour and a half at Brighton’s SeaLife Centre as part of Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival, the finalists were under pressure to get the cocktails out, keep the consistency and quality of the cocktails high, and also engage the guests.

Over 200 guests sampled the cocktails from each of the four finalists and used “tip” tokens to vote for their favourite cocktail and bartender. Second place went to Dave Clarke from Brighton’s Grand hotel.

Robb said: “It was a great night and very well organised. I was definitely feeling it the next day though. My goal throughout was to demonstrate the versatility of American whiskey, and by winning the competition I definitely feel I achieved this”.

Robb’s winning cocktails (pictured below) used Jim Beam Devil’s Cut as the base spirit and included a variation on a Cosmopolitan using peach schnapps, cranberry, rosewater and lime.

Lady in Red by Robb Collins

40ml Jim Beam Devil’s Cut bourbon
15ml Peach schnapps
50ml Cranberry juice
10ml Freshly squeezed lime
5ml Sugar syrup
Mist of Rose water
1 Rose petal as garnish

Pour all ingredients except the rose water and rose petal into a Boston glass, add cubed ice, shake and strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with rose water using a spray. Garnish with rose petal.

The Devil’s Blueberry & Almond Sour by Robb Collins

45ml Jim Beam Devil’s Cut bourbon
15ml Almond syrup
15ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 Blueberries
5ml Sugar syrup
5ml Blackcurrant liqueur
3 Blueberries as garnish
Lemon twist as garnish

Muddle blueberries with almond and sugar syrup in Boston glass, add Devil’s Cut and fresh lemon juice. Shake and strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with three blueberries on a cocktail stick wrapped with a lemon twist.

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