“A European bartender cocktail competition inspired by British eccentricity, with a literary twist”
Last year I was happy to get along to the finals of the first Putting Pen to Shaker competition which was being held at Salvatore's Bar at Playboy. It’s not often I attend a cocktail competition where the drinks can be made from more than one spirit category, in fact it’s a requirement of entry as the competition sponsors (The Poshmakers
) have rum, gin and vodka in their portfolio. The inaugural winner was David Hamilton-Boyd and his prize was a fabulous all-expenses paid trip to Madrid, along with his self-penned story featured in Bar Magazine for continued fame and maximum exposure!
The good news is that the competition is back for 2014, bigger than before and with more at stake in terms of prizes!
A competition needs a theme and this one really is very good: draw inspiration from a literary source, be it fact or fiction, comic or biography. Then create a cocktail based upon the inspiration using at least two of the products in the Poshmakers range (a minimum combined volume of 50ml and maximum 100ml). When chatting with Jimi Pearce (the competitions creator and coordinator) he told me that (he) “hoped that the opportunity for the winner to be published in a well-respected trade publication like Bar Magazine would be as much inspiration to compete as the cash prize surely is”. Creating a name for yourself is a great way of moving up in the ladder in the drinks industry and being published is key to this!
I personally hope that someone comes up with a cocktail based upon Darwin’s Origin of the Species, or Douglas Adams Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, or Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code or James Bond in Casino Royale or Lonely Planet Guide to the Caribbean or Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or the Wisden Cricketers Almanack 1999 or one of a mind boggling number of amazing opportunities that will let your mind run wild!
To give you an idea of last year’s overall winning standard, David’s cocktail was based upon the British Institution that is Paddington Bear. His cocktail was called “Does a Bear Drink Rum in Darkest Peru? (Yes, Of Course He Does)”
50ml Virgin Gorda flash infused with hot buttered sour dough toast, 12.5ml lemon juice, 3 spoonful’s of ish and ishlimed soft-set marmalade, two dashes AKA, chamomile and vanilla bitters and topped with soda.
Served in a glass hidden inside Wellington boot complete with a tag requesting that the judges “Please look after this drink. Thank You”, just as Aunt Lucy requested of whomsoever discovered Paddington to “Please look after this bear. Thank you”. It’s these sorts of details that make the overall performance greater than the sum of the parts. A cleverly constructed and tasty cocktail presented to the judges on the iconic battered suitcase really grabs attention.
This year’s competition takes place across Europe, culminating in the finals being held here in the UK, once again earmarked for Salvatore's Bar at Playboy. Winning the qualifiers gets you 250 euros worth of Poshmakers products and travel expenses to your national heat. Taking second spot also keeps you involved in the competition and the chance to hone your performance in the national heat with a travel expenses paid prize.
Please note: the following dates are entry submission dates for each of the heats:
Algarve, Portugal: 16th April
Manchester, UK: 22nd April
Lisbon, Portugal: 5th May
London, UK: 6th May
La Coruna: 13th May
Madrid, Spain: 20th May
Bristol, UK: 20th May
Canaries, Spain: 26th May
Porto, Portugal: 2nd June
Scotland, UK: 3rd June
Barcelona, Spain: 10th June
The national heats take place in London, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and Prague, with the winner in each scoring a cash prize and travel expenses to the finals. The finals have a lot at stake with a £1,000 cash prize, your story published in Bar Magazine and perhaps the most exciting element: to join the Poshmakers innovation team.
This really is a prestigious competition with over 5,000 euros worth of prize money and 3,000 euros worth of Poshmakers products up for grabs. With all that in mind you’ll want to get involved I’m sure. To be ready, you’ll need your full cocktail recipe, cocktail name, your chosen book, place of work as well as contact details at least 14 days prior to your chosen heat (dates to be confirmed).
Rum Databank: Putting Pen To Shaker