Cocktail Challenge European finals

Bolognese is Europe's cocktail champ
27 August, 2008
Page 49 
Italian bartender Valentino Bolognese has won the European finals of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge. The event, which took place in Paris last month, brought together 10 heat winners from across Europe to compete for a place at the grand final in Tobago in May. This was the first of the regional finals with the North American, Caribbean and Australian finals to be held over the coming months.

Launched in 2005, the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge sees bartenders from around the world send in recipes for cocktails using Angostura aromatic bitters and Angostura orange bitters. Judges make a shortlist of entries and then they compete by regions.

Each contestant was asked to prepare two cocktails - three servings of each - one cocktail using Angostura aromatic bitters, the other using the new Angostura orange bitters. The cocktails were judged on aroma, flavour, presentation skills and creativity.

Judging was Mickael Perron, bar now and Angostura Europe ambassador; Guy Musart, French president of the Bar Association; Felicity Murray, editor of Drinks International (media partner for the challenge) and France Bouis, editor of Le Shaker, the French on-trade bar magazine. Head judge Perron commented: "The calibre of the entries this year has made the judging very difficult at every stage."

Bolognese, who will compet e in the finals in Tobago, is from the Pura Vida bar in Ferrara, Bologna. His sleek presentation and true professionalism supported his unusual, but perfectly balanced and stylish, cocktails. His Trinidad Especial was exceptional and used not just a dash of bitters, but a full 3 cl measure, and a similarly large 2cl dose n his Ri.Pa Deuxi ème - but it worked.

It was, however, a very close competition with some excellent recipes and presentations - some unfortunately spoilt on the day by careless spills, inaccuracy, time faults or forgetfulness , all probably due to last minute competition nerves.

The bartenders who came second and third were David Camacho Blanco from the Casino Torrequebrada bar in Malaga and, also from Spain, Yolanda Zarzo Guillot from the Radio Transito bar in Valencia.

The other finalists were: Avi Kashi, Tapeo bar, Tel Aviv; Julian de Nechaud de Feral, Milk & Honey, London; Jamie MacDonald, Tigerlily bar, Edinburgh; Robert Albrecht, Shepheard bar, Cologne; Antoni Vilanova Ballara, Hotel Vichy Catal án, Barcelona; Anoa Ramos Corredor, Association Spain Bartenders, Madrid; Regis Celabe, Murano bar, Paris.

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