My massive week with 42 Below finished up last Saturday with the finals of Cocktail World Cup. The competition was the brainchild of founder, Geoff Ross. Now in its 6th year, the World Cup sees bartenders from around the world challenged to develop and produce a cocktail to rival the classics, extra marks are awarded for delivering the drink with humour and style that reflects the brands values as well.
Heaps of brands now fly bartenders to the country of production to provide them an “authentic” brand experience. 42 lets the animal out of the cage, good and proper. The whole deal was promoted as a Love, Drinks and Rock’n’Roll, which is how a lawyer references the excesses of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll.
The final itself is the culmination of many months, semifinals around the world determine who gets to go down to New Zealand, experience the brand in its home. I thought I’d share a little piece of the finals with you, the teams, their drinks and the event itself. It’s not quite the same as being there, but as there were only 600 tickets, chances are you weren’t.
Get amongst, after the jump.
How do Rockstars arrive at their big show? Even if it’s Earth Hour, they turn up in an aging stretch limo or one of a couple of stretch Hummers. Out the door, onto the red carpet. Rock and Roll baby.
This guy is not really a Rockstar, that much should be obvious to you, he’d be wearing way skinnier jeans and sunglasses. Also hand luggage is usually designer, rather than supermarket checkout. I suppose the important thing is that Brad’s trying, after all.
Inside the pillared building, a photo wall with a full flash set up, caught moments from the night. Here’s me with Vernon Chalker, Lady Pearl and Tom from Madame Brussels.
The Irish boyos kicked the contest off. Launching onto stage with their green leisure suits and trademarked attitude. There was, I can also confirm, a jig. There are always jokes about the beer cocktail, but I think this one really came off strong
Andy Ferreira – Long Island, Cork
Max La Rocca – Sheen Falls Lodge, Kerry
Aaron Wall – Leopardstown Inn, Dublin
‘Wilde Honey Porter’
35 mls (1 1/6 oz) 42BELOW Manuka Honey
35 mls (1 1/6 oz) Irish stout (That’s Guinness to me and you)
25 mls (5/6 oz) white wine
15 mls (1/2 oz) white crème de cacao
15 mls (1/2 oz) gomme syrup
15 mls (1/2 oz) freshly squeezed lime juice
15 mls (1/2 oz) free-range egg white
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cardamom pod
I sat with Team France on the first night and talked at some length about the French cocktail scene and my experience with drinks that were very sweet. Jad assured me that they were here to showcase the growing bond between food and cocktails and that their drink would not be too sweet. In the end, they pulled off a dessert garnish and an amazing looking drink.
Jad Kheirallah – Purple Bar @ Hilton Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Carlos Madriz – Le Bar @ L’Hotel, Paris
Yves Vitrant – Hotel Kilimandjaro, Courchevel
40 mls (1 1/3 oz) 42BELOW vodka
10 mls (1/3 oz) Benedictine
20 mls (2/3 oz) falernum
20 mls (2/3 oz) fresh cream
20 mls (2/3 oz) pear puree
10 mls (1/3 oz) clementine juice
10 mls spiced manuka honey (clove, anise, clove, peppercorn)
Half an egg white
Half a vanilla pod
It would be fair to say that the Italians were on a different track the whole way through the contest, but like their rugby team, it’s at the big game when everyone has written them off that they’re at their most dangerous. While I’m not really looking for a drink that comes in a watering can, it did look great on stage and the drink scored the best out of any of the Italian efforts all week.
Elia Cavieri – Arenile, Napoli
Allesandro Catapano – Cosmopolitan Café, Lucca
Mauro Rosada – Terrazzo Tosca, Treviso
‘Pavarotti and Friends’
50 mls (1 2/3 oz) 42BELOW Honey
10 mls (1/3 oz) pear cognac (Poire William)
15 mls (1/2 oz) freshly squeezed lime juice
20 mls (2/3 oz) honey
Dash of fresh cinnamon
Dash of orange bitters
Dash of hot sauce
Served with mozzarella di bufala, cherry tomatoes and olives
Clarification is the use of chemicals or process to clear a liquid, removing colours and fiber while retaining freshness and taste. It resulted in an amazingly clear drink, considering the three colourful juices the Northern Irish had included.
Hayden Lambert – Merchant Hotel, Belfast
Lisa McCarron – Merchant Hotel, Belfast
Joey Medrington – Tiger Lily, Edinburgh
50 mls (1 2/3 oz) 42BELOW vodka
30 mls (1 oz) clarified plum tomato juice
17.5 mls (some oz) clarified passion fruit juice
15 mls (1/2 oz) clarified lime juice
10 mls (1/3 oz) sugar syrup
1 small pinch of Essex sea salt
Cherry tomato garnish
Team New Zealand
The local boys really didn’t disappoint. Dressed like Jerry Thomas, they came out ready to pull off a vodka Blazer. Responsible service and a heritage listed venue intervened, but the boys adapted and substituted Fire for Ice, using dry ice to “Flaze” the drink. Calem did an amazing job in pouring the liquid back and forth, especially given some of the shaky hands exhibited by the other teams.
Calem Chadwick – Matterhorn, Wellington
Josh Crawford – Hooch, Wellington
James Goggin – Racket, Wellington
’42 Cuba St’
50 mls (1 2/3 oz) 42BELOW Manuka Honey
20 mls (2/3 oz) ancient vermouth formula (Carpano Antica)
5 mls (1/6 oz) honey liqueur (Barenjaeger)
Dash of chocolate bitters
Dash of decanter bitters
Spray of gunpowder and overproof rums
Chris Hysted, Australian Bartender of the Year, channeled Ozzy Osbourne and directed his team in making a cocktail for Sharon. I loved the showcase of the bartenders craft in making a drink to match a customers desires. The judges however, not so much. Can’t wait to visit Chris at the Black Pearl at the end of the month, his style of drink making and lets try it and see if it works attitude really got me excited (and drunk) on more than one occasion during the week.
Noriel Calub – Goldfish, Sydney
Karel Reyes Gonzalez – Laruche, Brisbane
Chris Hysted – Black Pearl, Melbourne
30 mls (1 oz) 42BELOW Pure vodka
15 mls (1/2 oz) 42BELOW Feijoa
7.5 (1/4 oz) white crème de cacao
½ barspoon absinthe (Mansinthe)
30 mls (1 oz) jasmine tea
Dehydrated yellow Chartreuse to sweeten
By far and away the best act of the night, Sherlock, the Ripper and a Victorian stripper went big with their ideas. the two separate parts of the drink were shaken apart and combined in the glass, pointing to the the LAB heritage the team shared. The nerves showed a bit on stage, with shaky hands getting in the way of a timely finish, but the drink is one of the ones I most wanted to get my hands on.
Stuart Fritz – LAB, London
Danny Winter – LAB, London
James Wynn-Williams – All Star Lanes, London
‘Geoff You Ripper’
30 mls (1 oz) 42BELOW Feijoa
30 mls (1 oz) 42BELOW Passion
30 mls (1 oz) red wine
15 mls (1/2 oz) artichoke aperitif (Cynar)
2 dashes New Orleans bitters (Peychauds)
1 bar spoon balsamic reduction
8 red grapes
Grapefruit and cherry brandy foam to garnish
Absinthe spray to garnish
20 mls (2/3 oz) cherry brandy
10 mls (1/3 oz) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3 drops grapefruit bitters
1 bar spoon castor sugar
1 free range egg white
Grapefruit skin, zested
The US team were serious from the start. Where other teams hit the bar, Mark drilled the need for “no mistakes” into his two younger team mates, any chance he could get. Taking the stage in Hip-Hop garb, busting out to RunDMC and spray-painting the stage, more than a few eyebrows went up. The charade ended, with hoodies slipped off to reveal ties and a professional approach to making the drink. Stirring the mixture both clockwise and anti-clockwise to signify the differences between the Northern and Southern hemispheres was great.
Sean Hoard – PDT, New York City
Mark Stoddard – Bitter Bar, Boulder
Todd Thrasher – PX and Restaurant Eve, Washington, D.C.
‘I Have Too Much Thyme on My Hands Right Now at This Point In my Life’
30 mls (1 oz) 42BELOW vodka
15 mls (½ oz) aritchoke aperitif (Cynar)
45 mls (1 1/2 oz) lime thyme syrup
Liberal dash of apple bitters
Compressed apple thyme balls to garnish
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the drink was good enough to take the trophy. Well done.
Quote of the week was from Belinda Henley, PR for 42Below – “I lived in L.A. for a few years, and went to three parties at the Playboy Mansion. I thought I’d seen it all, but I’d seen nothing like this”. Couldn’t agree more and I loved every second of it.
Rock and Roll. oh yeah, then a band played.