Royal Palms mixologist and bartender Lachlan Morris has beaten a slew of bartenders from across the Caribbean to be named master bartender at the recently held Stolichnaya Most Original Cocktail Masters Competition 2013 in Jamaica.
Lachlan defeated rivals from Jamaica, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda and St. Maarten with his original winning martinis – a Jamaican apple martini and a pineapple and coriander martini.
The Jamaican apple martini, a modern twist on a classic martini, consisted of muddled green apples, homemade pimento syrup, rhubarb bitters, Stoli’s gala apple vodka and lime juice. The pineapple and coriander martini featured a pleasing mix of Stoli’s honey vodka and jalepeno vodka, Drambuie, homemade ginger and lime zest syrup, lime juice and orange zest.
Organised by Jamaica’s Select Brands and Stansfeld Scott – agents for Stoli in the Caribbean – Lachlan took home the grand prize of a trip for two to Las Vegas and US$1,000 in cash.
“The competition was awesome,” Mr. Morris said. “We stayed in Half Moon Bay Resort. Everything was fantastic. Even if I had come last in the competition, it was worth it for the experience.
“The flavours of the cocktails I created were based on the Caribbean. I tried to get all the flavours of the palate, sweet, sour and bitter. I went outside of the box, and used more unusual flavours which complemented each other, such as Stoli pepper and honey vodkas and cilantro. There was definitely some strong competition, but I was quietly confident of winning.”
Originally from Australia, Mr. Morris is no stranger to mixology competitions, having previously won the Cayman-based 2013 7 Fathoms Rum Competition and the Flor de Cana cocktail competition in 2011. Farther afield, he has also scooped first place in the 2009 Don Julio cocktail competition in Dundee, Scotland and the Netherlands International Bartenders Association cocktail competition in Amsterdam, 2009, to name just a few.
A seasoned bartender, Mr. Morris left Australia at 19 to travel the world and said he learned the craft of mixology by reading and working alongside some of the world’s best bartenders.
“In 2009, I worked at Zeta Bar in Sydney, Australia, famed for its molecular mixology. It opened my eyes to what can be done in the world of cocktails. Working alongside some of the best mixologists showed me there is money to be made in the industry if you have pride in the work that you do.
“Balance in any cocktail is key. Once you have mastered that you can make any type of drink and get really creative.”
Mr. Morris secured his place in the regional grand finals after competing against 10 of Cayman’s best bartenders during the regional round of the Stolichnaya Cocktail Competition, held 18 March at the Side Bar at Grand Cayman Beach Suites. Bartenders were tasked with creating an original cocktail using Stolichnaya vodkas and were judged on taste, appearance and creativity.
Stolichnaya – most often referred to as Stoli – is one of the most popular brands of Russian vodka. Regarded as a gentle sipping vodka and a great cocktail base, Stoli produce 16 different flavoured vodkas, as well as the flagship Red Label vodka.
Over the past few years, Cayman has witnessed a flurry of cocktail competitions and an ever expanding cocktail scene.
“Cayman is starting to finally catch up with the rest of the world,” Mr. Morris said. “People are starting to realise that there is more to a cocktail than rum and Coke. We are liquid chefs, there are amazing products now on the market, so people should be able to go out to a great restaurant, then to a bar and enjoy equally great drinks.
“Cayman’s cocktail culture has grown a lot in the last few years and there are some great bartenders here creating great drinks, but we can always get better. Every bar needs a great bartender.”
Jamaican apple martini
Apple chunks muddled
50ml Stoli Gala Applik (apple vodka)
20ml liquor 43
30ml lime juice
25ml homemade pimento syrup
Orange zest garnish with apple fan skewered
Muddle the apple chunks in a Boston glass and add four dashes of rhubarb bitters. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Zest orange over martini and add garnish to finish.
Pineapple and coriander martini
About six chunks of pineapple
40ml Stoli Sticki (honey vodka)
20ml Stoli Hot (jalapeño vodka)
30mls homemade ginger and lime zest syrup
30ml lime juice
Pepper for garnish
Muddle the pineapple and cilantro leaves together; add two grinds of pepper, and four dashes of grapefruit bitters into a Boston glass. Add the rest of the ingredients. Shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle the orange zest over the cocktail and add a coriander leaf to the top the cocktail. Finish with grind of pepper.
Lachlan Morris defeated rivals from Jamaica, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda and St. Maarten with his original winning martinis.