Canary Wharf show their Flair in Centinela Cocktail Heat

Four Season's Canapes
Four Season’s Canapes

Thursday 4th July saw the Canary Wharf heat of the Centinela Cocktail competition that will soon be coming to its peak with our finals! Bartenders across the nation have been sending in their recipes and battling it out to be one of the lucky 3 regional winners and travel to Arrandas in Mexico to see the distillery! But they have some work to do to get there. All the heats have seen top quality cocktails, and the Four Seasons Hotel on Canary Wharf was certainly no exception.

As we were assembling at a lovely side bar in the stunning hotel, we were welcomed with delicious smoked salmon appetisers and a fruity Bellini, and their hospitality didn’t end there. I will take this moment to thank the team for continuing to bring out mouth-watering appetisers throughout the competition and making sure the judges had lined their stomachs before tasting the cocktails.

Jolita's Union Juan
Jolita’s Union Juan

This heat had five participants, representing the Four Seasons, Parlour Bar, Rocket, Roka and The Pearson Room. First up was Xiandy from the Four Seasons who was kindly stepping in to make her colleague Jolita’s cocktail as sadly she was ill on the day. Jumping straight in, Xiandy measured out the tequila and a lime mixture and gave it a good shake. After pouring this into martini glasses she delicately poured grenadine and curacao blue into the glasses so they layered up on the bottom… making the Union Juan cocktail!

Next up was Radoslaf from the Parlour Bar making a Mexican Punch.. and punchy this number was! Muddling two jalopeno peppers, avocado, and a Mexican drink called Tamarind. Adding some lime juice for liquid he shook it up and served it rocks glasses with a garnish that showed all the flavours. And there was certainly a lovely kick to the drink!

Okinawa Sunshine
Paolo’s Okinawa Sunshine

Third was Paolo from Roka’s Okinawa Sunshine – a delicious medley of ginger, agave syrup, saki wine, and of course the Centinela tequila. Added on top was a unique topping with mustard seeds. Presented in martini glasses, it oozed with style and tasted sublime!

Next was Simone from Rocket who carried on the theme of yellow sunshine with his cocktail, Simone’s Summery. Based on combining the Centinela tequila with delicious fresh pineapple and bitters he transformed the clear tequila into a great cocktail, with amazing aromas coming from the pineapple leaf garnish.

Mario's Jasmine Room
Mario’s Jasmine Room

Last up was Mario from the Pearson Room. Adding to the delicious Centinela, he combined the flavours of Cartron Framboise de Bourgogne and a jasmine tea homemade creation. After a firm shake he strained the liquid into sherry glasses with lovely orange peel garnishes inside. But he didn’t finish there… Mario added fire to the mix by a very skilful lighting of orange peel to bring out more citrus flavours into the drink! The result, a Jasmine Room.

With such a varied array of cocktails and so many techniques used to express the tequila, it was a tough feat for us judges to compare and contrast. All the cocktails were simply delicious and I could certainly see them all being popular if served up in a bar… but alas, a winner there must be. It gave us great pleasure to announce, the winner of the Four Season’s Canary Wharf heat was the lovely Mario from the Pearson Room! Congratulations Mario and we look forward to seeing your pyrotechnics in the London final!

By Clare Corlett
Amathus Drinks

Cabrito/ Centinela Cocktail Competition 2013: The Heats are really getting Fiery!

We are well into our exciting Centinela Cocktail competition, with the London final taking place at the end of July, and the competition is heating up! We have 3 regional finals in total and the winners from each final will then get to go to Arrandas in Mexico, the home of Casa Centinela & Cabrito, and battle it out to be the ultimate winner for 2013!
Our London finalists are being chosen from internal heats within bars around and so far we have some great people in the final:

Dominik from Evans and Peel with “The Shifting Punch”
Ruairidh & Daniel from Love Jericho in Oxford, with “Pepes Tepache” & “$500 Dollar Fix” respectively
Irene from Beach Blanket Babylon with “Cherry Lady Boy”
Alessio from Drink Shop & Do with “Tiempo Fuera”
Shane from Mokoko with “Papa Don’t Beet Me”
Joe from Hidden Rooms with “Aguamiel”
Csongi from Montgomery Place/Market Place with “El Cordial”

Cabrito Tequila
Cabrito Tequila

Congratulations to all the finalists so far! And to add to this list of amazing talent we have last night’s winner from Made in Camden… And what a fight it was! As my first time up judging a heat for this competition, I got a real insight into the level of thought and creativity that all the bartenders are putting into their creations. With real attention to the taste profile and history of Cabrito (the range used in this heat), the results were delicious and taste-bud-tingling treats for all us judges.

First up was Louis with a real concentration on the nutty notes of Cabrito blanco – using a dry amontillado sherry in the cocktail to really draw out these flavours. Along with this he introduced a little French character (from his home country) into the cocktail, using yellow Chartreuse. Adding his own honey recipe for sweetness and a dash of bitters, he stirred to temper the drink and poured into a Sherry glass.

Next was Teresa, who added a real kick to the competition and introduced flavours from the home of tequila itself by adding chillies to the cocktail! Based on Cabrito blanco – in order to get a pure agave flavour without oak – she added the chillies, simple syrup, Lillet and a splash of fiery bitters. She gave it a quick shake (but not too much!) to get the chilli flavours out and poured into a Coupe glass.

Mexican contender Freddy came next, adding some real fruit to the mix; a watermelon cocktail using fresh watermelon. Freddy wowed us with his history knowledge of Cabrito (the number one tequila in Mexico and one he was very familiar with). Using the blanco, he mashed up the tequila with the watermelon then added Sotol from Mexico (a mezcal-like drink), some orange bitters and fresh lime juice. He gave it a slightly longer shake and poured into a Coupe for a deliciously pink finish.

Last, but of course not least, was Rebecca who brought along her homemade roasted lime, onion and cayenne pepper puree to create a twist on a Bloody Mary. Seasoned with lots of herbs and spices; she was used the reposado and mixed in green tomato juice and some extra chilli sauce. It was served with a shot of spicy tomato juice and was certainly one to blow any cobwebs away!

I hope my brief overview conveyed that it really was a tough one to judge! All were different, had an understanding of

Teresa
Teresa

Cabrito, and tasted great… but after much deliberation we had to make a decision. The winner was the one we thought was a drink that really celebrated Cabrito taste at the heart of the cocktail; showed a consideration to the homeland of Mexico; and was balanced, well thought out and left us wanting several more of the same…. Teresa, with her cocktail “Hellquila”. Congratulations on being the next finalist in our Centinela Cocktail Cup!

The next heat is at Thursday 4th July at the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf! It will be at 2.30pm for anyone in the area that wants to pop in and give them a cheer!

Well done to our winners so far and good luck to all upcoming contenders!

 

By Clare Corlett

Amathus Drinks