Some of the best bartenders in the Cayman Islands came out to do battle at Karoo in Camana Bay on Monday night.
Sponsored by Jacques Scott and Appleton Rum, the competition allowed the participants to show their originality and skills as they tried to create the perfect Appleton VX drink.
The event was due to begin at 7.00pm but almost every table was taken by 6.30pm. Three bars were set up, as with a total of 16 contestants, rotations in and out had to be quick to prevent the evening from turning into a 12-hour odyssey. Lots of friends came out to cheer their favourites, including the one bartender from the Sister Islands, Fernando of Southern Cross Club in Little Cayman.
The judges were Fin Wilson from Jacques Scott, Khi Leonard from Westin Casuarina Resort and Vicki Wheaton from Cayman Free Press. They had to sample every beverage and score them on a number of factors. A dirty job, but somebody had to do it. Points were awarded for flavour, balance, ingredients, presentation and personality, and from the start it was clear that no one was going down without a fight.
The bartenders impressed with their inventive methods. Some of the recipes included infusions, and others forced everyone to take a step back as various ingredients were set on fire. Cinnamon featured in quite a number of the drinks, but some curve balls came along in the form of Tabasco and chili peppers. The night came alive to the rhythm of shakers, blenders, muddling and grating.
The competition was fierce, and some of the presentations were spectacular, but in the end there could only be one winner. Seggy from Rum Point won the day with his simple yet delicious cocktail featuring orange peel oil around the rim of the glass and a creamy head.
He will be heading to Jamaica later this year to join bartenders from all over the world as they showcase their Appleton concoctions.
It is a particularly great year to be attending, as 2012 marks 50 years of independence for Jamaica. Seggy is already planning his strategy.