Bartenders from nine key Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum markets around the world recently competed for the coveted title of Champion of the prestigious 2012 Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum International Bartender Challenge.
At the end of a hard fought battle of the shakers Richard Tring from The Milk Thistle, Bristol in the United Kingdom was crowned the 2012 Appleton Estate International Bartender Champion. "This is an awesome win. It's been a difficult competition with so many strong bartenders all in one place, but I am very happy about this," he said. "Of all the competitions around at the moment, the Appleton Estate Global Bartender Challenge remains one of the most prestigious, partially because the competitors got to integrate with the Jamaican public, and partially due to the quality and pride of the company itself. It's an honour to win amongst such fierce competition"
Held at Kingston’s Wyndham Hotel on October 26, which was two days after Hurricane Sandy passed over Jamaica, the Challenge saw the nine bartenders go shaker to shaker in a unique competition where 500 specially invited guests were the judges.
Each guest was given an Appleton Estate ‘dubloon’ or coin on arrival at the event and, after an evening of tasting and listening to each bartender’s explanations and descriptions, they then used their coin to vote for their favourite bartender. The coins were then counted and the bartender with most coins, in this case Richard Tring, won the competition. For his efforts behind the bar Richard won an all expense paid trip for two to Jamaica.
Other Challenge contenders were: Jamaica's Ryan Mitto; Canada's Jonathan Homier; Australia's Jamie Chesher; Seggrett 'Seggy' Quizeo of the Cayman Islands; Salvador Pacheco representing Mexico; New Zealand's Jason Clark; Daniel Melgar competing for Peru; and, American Ben Clemons. In order to qualify for the finals of the Appleton Estate International Bartender Challenge, each finalist won the Appleton Estate Bartender Challenge that was held in their respective country earlier in the year.
Each bartender was also presented with an Appleton Estate “Original Creation” Rum which was created for them by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum’s Master Blender Joy Spence. The presentation of these very special and unique rums was made on stage before the announcement of the overall champion.
Before the International Challenge finals, the bartenders headed to local shops and markets in Kingston to select local ingredients for their cocktail creations. While shopping at a local supermarket the group met up with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller who happily agreed to pose for photos with the group. Following the Bartender Challenge the bartenders toured the Appleton Estate in St. Elizabeth, as well as visiting famous Jamaican attractions while enjoying four days of rum and relaxation on Jamaica’s famous North Coast.