Shakers were flying and creative minds were whirling at the 2018 Stoli Cayman Islands Cocktail Masters competition, held at Anchor & Den last Sunday.

After much deliberation by a panel of local judges, Todd Shipster of Cracked Conch emerged victorious with his “Bad & Boujee” and “Take Me Home/Bluez Me Forever” cocktails. Second place was nabbed by Simone Pagnozzi of The Lodge and Jonathan Nunez of Catch Restaurant got third place.

There were 10 bartenders competing for the coveted title, including Cory Scruggs of Agua, Ensor Yussef Almengor Bonilla from The Westin, Danny Ismail from The Marriott, Paolo Cognolato from Le Vele, Ally Manning of Kaibo, Ellie Flairs from Salty’s and Shawn Cain from Peppers.

Judges were Julie Allan from Rackam’s, Matty Sloane from Hurley’s Media, Martin Dohnal from The Ritz-Carlton and Amba Lamb, also from The Ritz-Carlton. Lamb is an award-winning mixologist in her own right, so no doubt it was fun for her to be on the other side of the table for once.

All the bartenders were allocated 10 minutes to present two cocktails. The first was to showcase Stoli Premium Vodka, while the second showcased Stoli Premium Flavored Vodka.

The contestants: From left, Danny Ismail (The Marriott Beach Resort), Ally Manning (Kaibo), Simone Pagnozzi (The Lodge), Paolo Cognolato (Le Vele), Todd Shipster (Cracked Conch), Cory Scruggs (Agua), Shawn Cain (Peppers), and Jonathan Nunez (Catch). Not pictured: Ellie Flairs (Salty’s) and Ensor Yussef Almengor Bonilla (The Westin).
Jonathan Nunez’s ‘Dream Catcher’ creation.

The winner received $1,000, bottles of Stoli Elit and Stoli Premium Vodka and the title of 2018 Stoli Cayman Islands Cocktail Master, as well as being crowned the 2018 Cayman Islands Stoli Brand Ambassador.

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