A month ago there were 11.
Then there were four, and now, finally, there is just one winner of the 2012 Swizzle Masters competition, with Ukraine’s Kirill Maslenikov named as the overall winner with his sophisticated and unusual Cognac and Jagermeister cocktail, Sunday Lover.
Held at the Spirits Masters Awards Lunch the Swizzle Masters Final brought together three veteran judges, namely Richard Ridley, export director for Wenneker Liqueurs, sponsors of the competition, Richard Woodard, SB editor and Kane Brooks, beverage manager for the Drake & Morgan group to try the five cocktails that had beaten the 60 other recipes from the competition.
In second place was Portuguese Nelson Bernardes from the Waldorf Hilton’s bar, Good Godfreys, with his absinthe/lychee/cucumber concoction called Spring Promise. Hot on Bernardes’ heels was Hungarian born Mate Csatlos from China Tang at The Dorchester with his fresh and feisty L’amour in Paris.
The Other two cocktails were Jamie Stephenson’s Sophie-stication and Maslenikov’s second recipe Dina.
The cocktails were all tasted by the panel without them knowing which cocktail was submitted by whom, but the odds were in Maslenikov’s favour from the outset, as two of his cocktails had been selected from the semi final, giving him an edge over the other three finalists.
The competition was fierce with the highest and lowest scores within spitting distance of each other. The calibre of the finalists was reflected not only by their extremely skilfully crafted cocktails, but also the prestigious establishments and accolades that they all had to their name. Winners and finalists of some of the best international competitions around (Swizzle Masters aside), including the Angostura Global Cocktail Competition, Bacardi Legacy and Diageo World Class, the finalists were an impressive selection of highly accomplished bartenders from around the world.
The drinks, mixed by The Cinnamon Kitchen’s bar manager Ben Newton-Syms, were all very varied, with base spirits ranging from Scotch to absinthe, Cognac to gin – and eclectic selection that tested the judges versatility as well as palates.
Editor of The Spirits Business, Richard Woodard, was extremely impressed with the high quality of the drinks: “All of the drinks were of an extremely elevated standard – something which I know was reflected in my scoring, which was uniformly high. They offered hugely contrasting styles, from the almost vegetal freshness of Spring Promise to the all-guns-blazing complexity of Sunday Lover.”
Ridley was also enthusiastic about the quality of the drinks: “The finals of the Swizzle Masters were revelation, with all five cocktails showing a complexity and balance that was a real delight. I would happily order any of them in a bar; but the winner and runners up excelled, displaying a combination of sophistication and understanding of the ingredients that was a delight to the palate.”
As with the semi final, there was no theme or common base spirit unifying the cocktails in this final round, with the exception of all of them containing at least a dash of Wenneker Liqueurs, which made judging them a shade more challenging as all the drinks were wildly different. “As judges, we were unanimous in our choice of the winner, but in truth these were all drinks that you could happily enjoy at the right moment and in the right company”, added Woodard.
“Perhaps equally importantly, they were for the most part practical too, meaning that they could easily be replicated in any decently equipped bar. It’s hugely encouraging to see so much creativity among bartenders, and from so many different countries too”.
Ridley was also impressed with the range of the drinks, seeing this as an indicator of what is to come: “With results such as these, the Swizzle Masters should go far and I believe that this is just the beginning of what will become established in the next few years as one of the major international cocktail competitions.”
As the winner of the Swizzle Masters 2012, Kirill Maslenikov will receive a trophy and a trip to Holland, home of Wenneker liqueurs.
Please visit www.swizzlemasters.com for more information about next year’s competition.
Winning cocktail: Kirill Maslenikov – Sunday Lover
15ml Wenneker Crème de Cacao (brown)
60ml Remi Martin VSOP
Method: Stir thoroughly and strain
Glass: Old Fashioned glass, filled with ice.
Garnish: Orange zest above the glass for aroma and garnish.
Runner up: Nelson Bernardes – Spring Promise
30ml La Fée Absinthe
25ml Wenneker lychee
20ml fresh lemon juice
15ml cucumber syrup
15ml egg white
Method: Shaken and double strain
Garnish: mint sprig
Third place: Mate Csatlos – L’amour in Paris
20ml Plum eau de vie
15ml Wenneker Vanilla
15ml clove syrup
3 chunks fresh pineapple
Muddle the pieapple and shake together with the rest of the ingredients, strain into vintage Martini glass. Garnish with dried hibiscus powder.