Ninon Fauvarque wins Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix 2018

03 June, 2018

French bartender Ninon Fauvarque, beat 40 contestants at the global final of Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix 2018 on Friday, June 1 in Havana.

Fauvarque, from La Queue du Coq in Annecy, France won over judges with her commitment to this year’s theme: Cuba Moderna, with Curvas a cocktail inspired by the new “wonderful” generation of Cubans. Favarque is the first female to win the competition, now in its 12th year.

“It was a huge surprise for me, it is a great honour,” Fauvarque told DI. “The first time I picked up a shaker was April 2017, I have been bartending for one year. "I was a waitress at the bar I am working at and I was talking with my boss, he had the knowledge and I had the connection with people and he told me if you have the techniques and learn to shake you can make it.”

Favarque first took the titles of First Sip Winner and People’s Choice Award, and then was announced the global winner with competitors Stepan Abrahamyan, Daboo Bar, Armenia in second place and Johnson Wisdom Dogbey, Little Havana, Ghana in third.

Christian Barré, Havana Club CEO told DI that the competition was of a high level and had “transparency and seriousness“ as well as highlighting the fact this was the first time a woman had won.

The 23-year-old winner also told DI that Havana Club has seven students who are learning to make Havana rum with the master distillers and out of those seven, there are five women, something which Favarque thinks is “amazing”.

Judges of the competition: Masa Urushido, from Saxon + Parole, New York; Elias Stergiopoulos, from Baba au Rum, Athens; Alejandro Bolivar, from El Floridita, Havana; Sam Ross, from Attaboy, New York; Carina Soto, from Candelaria, Paris and Audrey Saunders, from Pegu Club, New York. Award-winning drink historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller.

Head judge Anistatia Miller, told DI: “All bartenders competing in the Grand Prix this year demonstrated mixology skills of the highest standard in their quest to fuse Cuba Moderna into a new rum cocktail, and we consider them all to be winners. But Ninon has certainly stood out for us on the judging panel and among the other competitors – after scooping the First Sip recognition and the People’s Choice Award, the Global Winner title is a well-deserved recognition of the talent of this young bartender”.

Fauvarque has received a bottle of Havana Club Máximo, and will be given the opportunity to pursue a rum project of her own choice in collaboration with Havana Club, in addition to returning as a judge at the next global final in 2020.

Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix Winners:

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