Following its successful launch in 2009, DI’s Pre-mixed Drinks Challenge attracted entries from around the world.
The competition was launched to celebrate the burgeoning readymade alcoholic drinks sector and assess the quality of the drinks that are part of it.
Judges were chosen for their variety of expertise, whether it be as a technical expert, an on-trade professional or a master of the off-trade.
They included: Vanessa Pearson, category buyer, Sainsbury’s; Alex Turner, head of product training and mixology, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands; Nicola Collenette, features editor, Off Licence News; Andrew Gale, category technical manager beer, wines and spirits, Tesco; and Neil Garner, Barwizard, bartender.
The quintet was briefed to assess the quality of the drinks from a consumer perspective as well as give their professional opinion.
Judges spent the day slurping and swilling their way through 50 drinks and the general feeling was that this is a relatively young sector with more room for innovation.
The competition was split in to categories: classic alcoholic drink/mixer combination; original/unique product combinations; original/unique product combination; shooters; readymade cocktails; classic cocktails (user adds alcoholic drink); contemporary alcoholic drink/mixer combination.
General observations from the judges included comments on the quality of the base spirit used in some of the drinks, as well as the quality of cola, particularly in the spirit and mixer combinations.
Judges also remarked on the intense sweetness of some of the products and they said they felt a natural fruit flavour was lacking in some cases.
Products on the medals table were praised for their balance of sweetness, alcohol and flavour.
Piña Colada, Funkin
Capel Ice Citrus, Capel
Rum / Cola, Manchester Drinks Company
Vodka / Diet Cola, Manchester Drinks Company
Gin / Tonic, Manchester Drinks Company
Gin / Diet Tonic, Manchester Drinks Company
Strawberry Daiquiri, Funkin
Cosmopolitan Bar2dr, Asda Stores
WKD Original Blue, Beverage Brands
Woody's Sasparilla, Beverage Brands
Pomtin,i Beverage Brands
Oscar's Cosmopolitan, Aldi c/o Weber Shandwick
Mai Tai Coppa, Toorank (UK) Ltd
Mai Tai Bar2dr, Asda Stores
Pacific Mai Tai, Vnc Cocktails
Capel Ice Mandarina, Capel
Sea Breeze Coppa, Toorank (UK) Ltd
Long Island Iced Tea Coppa, Toorank (UK) Ltd
Long Island Iced Tea Bar2dr, Asda Stores
Mojito Coppa, Toorank (UK) Ltd
Capel Toffee Cream Colada, Capel
Passionfruit Capriosca, Vnc Cocktails
Pisco Sour, Capel