A really aggressive London warmth sees three bartenders by to the El Recuerdo & Zignum Mezcal Competitors ultimate
The El Recuerdo and Zignum Mezcal competitors rolled into London this week, with one other group of agave-loving bartenders searching for a spot within the grand ultimate, and from there, a visit to both Oaxaca or Barcelona.
The Love Drinks staff, who’re internet hosting the comp, selected an exquisite and fully becoming venue in Hacha Brixton for this warmth. For the uninitiated, Hacha is London’s solely Agaveria and winner of UK Specialist Bar of the Yr in 2022. We had been very fortunate to have the bar’s co-founder and agave professional, Deano Moncrieffe, be a part of the judging panel alongside myself and Love Drinks MD, Samantha Burke.
This being a double-header competitors, bartenders had been in a position to submit entries for both or each of the mezcals. The El Recuerdo rivals went first, adopted by a really welcome pizza break, after which the Zignum entrants took their flip. Because the final bartender of the day was cleansing the station and the judges had been gathering up their sheets for a spot of psychological factors arithmetic, it occurred to us that the day had handed with out anybody shaking a cocktail. Pondering again over 15-odd years of judging, I can’t recall one other warmth the place each drink was both thrown or stirred. Is that this a brand new London pattern, or only a one-off quirk? I’ll have an interest to see what occurs within the subsequent London competitors I decide…
Earlier than we introduce the winners and their drinks, just a few honourable mentions are so as. James Tuckey of Sparrow Italia made a phenomenal drink known as Flying Knee, which paired Le Recuerdo with a clarified milk punch, maraschino, and peach liqueur. It was a scrumptious cocktail and had nerves not obtained the higher of James throughout his presentation, he would have been in with a great shot of successful.
Abiatar Aurelian Cosma of Humo Bar additionally made a cracking drink, known as In addition to de Libertad. This mixed Zignum Mezcal with Manzanilla Sherry, Cocci Teatro Amaro, and a particular mix of bitters to create a extremely properly balanced and flavoursome drink that additionally seemed the enterprise.
Usually at this level I might say one thing alongside the traces of ‘there can solely be one winner’, however on this occasion I might be mendacity. Whereas there was a transparent winner among the many El Recuerdo drinks, two bartenders delivered Zignum drinks and shows that had been so good and so carefully scored that Love Drinks’ boss Samantha Burke made a command determination and put them each by to the ultimate.
So congratulations then to Giorgia Di Stefano of Demon & Clever, whose Harmonia cocktail, which mixed El Recuerdo with milk punch and ‘Mexican tea plant’ in lovely stone cups, wins her a spot within the UK ultimate. Courtney Francis of Sofa in Stirchley continues an incredible competitors streak by jointly-winning the Zignum warmth with Angelo Lo Greco of Stables Bar. Courtney’s drink Xayakatl employed banana liqueur and a particular Oaxacan espresso saccharum, which mixed with Zignum to create probably the greatest competitors drinks I’ve tasted in a while. Angelo delivered an exquisite, story-driven presentation as he made his cocktail, The Shaman. Each cocktail and the chat had been high notch, and it was a pleasure to expertise them. I look ahead to seeing all three rivals on the ultimate.
Earlier than signing off, I need to supply large because of everybody who took the time to enter the competitors, your efforts are tremendously appreciated. And thanks additionally to to the Deano and the staff at Hacha for internet hosting us.
The winners and their drinks
Giorgia Di Stefano, Demon & Clever
35 ml El Recuerdo Abocado con gusano
35 ml Tamarind-Epazote Tea punch (Home made)
25 ml Prickly Pear liqueur
Served on the rocks with a piece of ice. Garnished with a mixture of spices Chilli & Paprika, Epazote, Sea salt
Courtney Francis, Sofa
Xayakatl (which means masks in Nahuatl)
50ml Zignum Reposado
20ml Banana liqueur
10ml Oaxacan Espresso Saccharum*
3 dashes of a 20% Saline Resolution
Construct elements in stirring tin, stir to dilute. Pressure into an absinthe sprayed coupe
*50g Oaxacan espresso (espresso grind)
50g caster sugar
100g leftover espresso
50g Zignum Reposado
Run scorching water by the espresso in a V60 like a typical espresso. Then add the caster sugar to the espresso grinds, combine to make a paste then add the leftover espresso from the brew and the Zignum Reposado. Espresso filter and bottle. Shelf Life 14 days.
Angelo Lo Greco, Stables Bar
40 ml Zignum Reposado
15 ml Shamanic Bitter Potion
5 ml Cacao Liqueur
10ml Eucalyptus syrup
Garnish: Sal de Gusano caught with Orange and El Recuerdo Joven