British bartender Andy Loudon has been crowned victor of Pernod Ricard’s 10th annual Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix in Cuba.
HAVANA, 13 June (by Amy Hopkins) Andy Loudon impressed with his Jose Marti Especial cocktail, which was made from Havana Club 3 Year Old, fino sherry and pastis, with limes, sugar syrup and cloves. Participants were tasked with creating the next “classic Cuban cocktail” using local ingredients sourced during a week-long trip to Cuba. The final of the competition took place at hotel Habana Riviera in Havana last week following a programme of seminars lead by spirits experts such as Dave Broom and Naren Young. “As a bartender, I am well aware of Cuba’s great reputation for cocktails so to be challenged to come up with a world-class Cuban cocktail that can stand the test of time like the Mojito, Daiquiri and El Presidente was hugely exciting for me,” said Loudon.
“The intensive educational programme during our week in Havana really helped me get a better understanding about Cuban rum and the country’s cocktail culture and seeing the Malecon and the beaches of Havana inspired me to create my Jose Marti Especial cocktail, which went down well with the judges.” Second place went to Germany’s Indika Bandula Silva for his Doña Isabel cocktail, which contains Havana Club 3 Year Old, Cuban cordial, pink grapefruit, fresh lime juice and Angostura bitters.
In third place was the El Cantinero cocktail, created by Alessandro Palumbo from the Cayman Islands, which consisted of Havana Club 7 Year Old with honey, coffee beans and mint. Sitting on the panel of judges for the final round was global rum ambassador Ian Burrell, El Floridita’s Alejandro Bolivar, and world-famous mixologist, Tony Conigliaro.
Loudon will return to judge next year’s Havana Club Grand Prix final, while his Jose Marti Especial cocktail will be served in top Havana bars and be promoted globally by Havana Club.